Pediatricians and child experts say that babies have to be weaned from their bottles starting at 12 months. At this stage, children can already sit down by themselves, sit up, walk and hold a cup. Introducing him to a training cup in place of his bottle by this time will more likely result in him permanently leaving the bottle, than starting the weaning process at around age 2. Since toddlers 2 and 3 are more active, they will have the tendency to carry their bottles around while doing activities drinking from it from time to time. Others still look for their bottles before going to bed at age 4. Once you’ve let your child reach this age still on the bottle, there will be a big struggle to be able to get her off it. Hence, it’s best if you start him early on cups. In addition, doctors suggest that there are other consequences of staying with the feeding bottle long after the appropriate time.
EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM FEEDING BOTTLE USE
1. The acidity of the bottle when the milk has been drunk will cause cavities in his teeth. Since toddlers have the tendency to nibble on their bottle teats even after they’ve finished the milk, the acidity found here will ruin their teeth.
2. The prolonged use of the bottle can ruin the shape of his mouth and distort the alignment of his teeth.
3. He will have the tendency to rely on his bottle whenever he gets hungry thus he could be missing out on a lot of other important vitamins and nutrients found in healthy foods.
4. His social interaction skills could be slightly hampered because he has turned to the bottle for security and unless he loses it, he could be teased about it.
However, don’t despair if you haven’t started him on the weaning process or have been unsuccessful in the past. Experts suggest s few things to help motivate your child to lose the bottle.
1. Slowly decrease the amount of milk you put in his bottle. As he starts to get hungrier, feed him more solid foods.
2. When he asks for his bottle, hand him his training cup instead. Keep repeating this until he gets used to you just giving him his cup.
3. He will likely throw a tantrum when you do this so think of ways to calm him down. Hug him and soothe him with your voice.
4. Use the reward system to coax him into giving up his bottle. Each time he asks for his bottle and accepts his training cup instead, congratulate him on being a responsible grown little boy.
5. Since he associates his bottle with some sense of security, give him another security thing like a blanket, a new stuffed toy or a candy pillow. While you are trying to wean him and using this kind of exchange deal, keep her old blankets, pillows or stuffed toys first so she’ll only focus on one security thing.
Remember that bottle weaning is essential not only in helping your child develop his independence, social skills and his sense of authority; but is also important for him health-wise.