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How to Wean From a Baby Bottle

July 11, 2019

From pretty much the first day Cassidy was born up until 15 months, baby bottles were always in the picture. While I did breastfeed for 8 months of that time, she got her introduction to a bottle while in the NICU and I made sure to pump so I could give my husband his own turn at feeding.

After we learned in January that Cassidy was going to become a big sister, I started thinking a lot about how to go about tackling the baby bottle. Even though she isn’t a huge fan of a pacifier (she only takes one at night and thats it), her baby bottles were a crutch and major comfort to her. And I’ll be honest, in times like when her molars came in to getting a nasty winter cold, the bottles were a crutch for me too. They could step in and soothe her when I couldn’t and for that reason, I loved them.

However as spring came and the reality of knowing the arrival of our little boy was only getting closer, I was ready to wean Cassidy. I wanted to make sure it was done well before September so that it didn’t negatively coincide with the timing of when our new baby would be here and cause any type of problem, such as jealousy or confusion.

So with that being said, here are a few tips and tricks that I found worked best for us. In just one month’s time, we were able to smoothly say sayonara to those baby bottles and make the move to a “big girl cup.”

Stock Up on the Big Girl/Boy Cups

Wanting to make this transition as smooth as possible, I wanted to find a sippy cup that wouldn’t feel entirely different at first. Thats when I found these First Year 9 oz insulated bottles. While they are definitely for toddlers, they have a chewy silicon straw to suck through. I figured these would be perfect since it would feel very similar to that of a bottle nipple and not be such a huge surprise.

Additionally I purchased a variety of cups and sippy cups that I could start working in so that overtime, Cassidy would be comfortable being handed any type of cup without complaints. These are two of my favorites: Munchkin Miracle 360 and Tommee Tippee Easy Grip

Use Bribery

I am not one bit embarrassed to admit that am a parent who frequently uses bribery to get there child to do what they are asked. For those reading and shaking their heads, spare me the judgement because I dont care. So with that being said, I knew that Cassidy wouldn’t be too thrilled about having a new bottle unless there was something in it for her. She is smart that way. Now Im not talking about giving your kid a scoop of ice cream or piece of candy every time they use a sippy cup. Instead, I’m recommending that you occasionally (because you don’t want this to become an expectation) put something yummy to drink in that sippy cup. This could be juice or chocolate milk or whatever you know your child will love but doesn’t get often. For us, that was lemonade.

Putting the Plan into Action

At the time we started cutting out the bottle, Cassidy was having about 2-3 full 10 oz baby bottles a day. She was generally given one in the morning and made that last till nap time and then another post-nap till bed time. Have 3 full bottles was rare but depending on the day and her mood, was fully possible.

With having the new variety of bottles to choose from, here was our plan and new bottles handy, here is the week by week break down of how we weaned our girl.

weeks 1-2: Keep with whatever baby bottle schedule you have, introduce a sippy cup at meal times containing the lemonade or whatever you’ve chosen. Let them get used to holding their sippy cups and seeing how they can be great. This process took us about 2 weeks time because again I wanted this to be a smooth transition and not some cold turkey attempt.

week 3: Limit their baby bottle usage to just ONCE a day, every other time they want milk or water/juice, they get handed a big girl/boy cup. For milk, this is when I personally would hand her the First Years cup, since it still felt very similar to a baby bottle. At meals time, like during weeks 1 & 2, we stuck with either the munchkin or Tommee Tippee and switched it up between the wonderful lemonade and just plain water. Again, you want to do this so that your child doesn’t expect a sippy cup to only ever have the good stuff.

week 4: Time to put those baby bottles away. Your little one is ready to fly! For us, I grabbed each and every one of the bottles and put them in storage and swore that we wouldn’t pull from them again. And you know what, we still haven’t. Cassidy by this week was able to see that comfort could be provided from other cups. Additionally, she also learned to better self sooth herself to a point where she didn’t even need any external assistance.

For us this weaning process couldn’t have gone any smoother. However, what I think is important is that you choose the appropriate timing and then also go about it patiently. Your weaning schedule may not line up exactly with what I provided and that is okay! Every kid is so different so don’t stress if it take a little longer or hey, it could go even quicker. What matters is that you and your child feel comfortable the entire time.

If you have any questions about the way we transitioned or have any tips you would like to add here for other moms, I would love for you to get in touch with me or add a comment below! 🙂

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