I am in no way trying to tell you what to do in regards to feeding your child. This worked for us and I’m sharing in case you wanted to hear how we did it.
When we went to A’s doctor appointment around 6 months, I shared how Annabelle loved her sippy cup and drinking water. The doctor said that was great and we should aim to be off bottles around 12 months, as it gets harder to break after that. I always had that in my head, mentally, but at the time came, I just couldn’t part as 12 months came closer. It was the only time of the day I had those snuggles and I really didn’t want to give them up. It was a quiet, slow way to end the day, and a quiet and slow way to wake up. But, the time came and here is how I ended all bottles for Annabelle before she was 13 months.
Up until 10ish months, she was getting 4 bottle still but during month 10, we dropped the bottle after her afternoon nap due to it interfering with dinner time. She then only received 3 bottles, one when she woke up, one around 2ish, and one before bed.
The first bottle I dropped:
I thought the first bottle I should drop would be the afternoon one. The afternoon bottle was my least favorite because if we were out and about, she’d need a bottle and she never took to holding it on her own. That meant we were tied down during that time, and usually it was the only time I could get errands done after work. So, instead of a bottle, I replaced it with a snack and water in her sippy cup. She had no problem dropping this bottle and we increased the other 2 just a bit (about 6-7 in the morning and same before bed).
It wasn’t unusual for her to leave 2-3 oz in her bottle before bed, and just be done with it.
Switching from Formula to Milk:
Annabelle hated milk at the beginning when I introduced it around 11 months. I had to slowly get her to like it by mixing it with formula. I’d switch it up every few days so she’d start with 6 oz formula / 1 oz milk and then increase milk and decrease formula. Eventually she liked milk as long as it was warmed up, so by her first birthday, she was done with formula and her two bottles were milk.
The next bottle we dropped:
I read about dropping bottles and saw so many post the nighttime bottle was the hardest to drop. But, that’s the next one I dropped. It was totally for a selfish reason of not wanting to start the day ASAP so I wanted to keep those cuddles. Children also shouldn’t have milk right before going to sleep without brushing their teeth, and even though Annabelle didn’t have any (!!) I still wanted to work on milk not sitting on her gums over night. This process took a few weeks and I did it very slowly. I started dropping the number of oz in her bottle, starting with 5. It’d be 5 for a few days, then 4, all the way down to one.
One night, I just pulled the plug. We had eaten dinner very late and I knew she shouldn’t be hungry, so we went without the bottle. Instead, we kept the routine the same and read books instead of bottles. She didn’t understand at first and cried for 30 seconds- 1 minute before laying down and then going to sleep. We haven’t had problems since and she LOVES reading before bed.
She gets milk with dinner in her sippy cup and whatever she doesn’t drink she will drink at some point before bed. If she’s hungry before bed, we give her a small snack as well, though this isn’t too often.
The morning bottle:
This was the toughest. I tried a few times and Annabelle just wasn’t into it. Around 12 1/2- 13 months, though, she began to LOVE milk, whether warm or cold. She was getting milk at lunch and dinner in her sippy cup, but the morning was in the bottle still. One morning, I decided to just pull the trigger. Honestly, I don’t know any reason I did. It was a Saturday and I think I knew I had back up, ha. She still gets milk in the morning, it’s just in her sippy cup. She’ll sit on my lap as she drinks it, too, so I still have the cuddles and slow start to the day. Let’s say the first few days were not the easiest. She took a few sips and then would scream. Once she calmed down, I’d offer again and she eventually got it. That was about 3 weeks ago, and now sometimes she doesn’t drink milk for a while after waking up. This is huge because Annabelle always needed her bottle right away and would scream if it wasn’t ready, so for her to not go straight for milk is amazing.
The milk tides her over for 30-45ish minutes before she’s ready for breakfast. I’m glad to be done with bottles. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, but I know she was ready for it. She was getting enough from her meals, and I just replaced it with milk that she sometimes takes and sometimes doesn’t. Looking back, I’m so glad we did it gradually and that I waited until she was pretty much ready to make the switch. Had she been really having struggles with dropping it, I wouldn’t have pushed it and would have tried again later.