If you think it’s time to wean your toddler off of the bottle, you may need a strategy to help you. Here are a few main points to keep in mind:
YOU Pick the Timing,
I can’t give you the magic or perfect age to stop with bottles. Your paediatrician or dentist will suggest you stop if they see issues with the child’s soft palate. For the vast majority, we tackle this "project" when it makes sense in the context of the whole picture of our lives. It’s hard to implement someone else’s suggestion if you don’t really "buy in" anyways, so who cares what I think? What matters is what YOU think!
If you are ready, here is my strategy:
You can begin by letting your toddler know: "As of today, bottles are only for bed."
This is helpful because:
◾It eliminates one of the big things we hate: watching a kid walk around with an empty bottle hanging out of their mouth and preventing them from talking
◾It allows them to still have their bottle should they need it to calm themselves
◾It gives a clear indication of how much your child feels they need their bottle. How? Well, children don’t like to step away from the action, so they have to decide if they want to stay and play or go and have a bottle in bed in their room – away from the action. If they REALLY want a bottle, they will opt to give up their social life for it. If the bottle is really just a habit or added bonus, they will not be willing to lie down to have it.
After you have limited bottles to bedtime, think about the LAST day that you will be willing to offer a bottle. Once you eliminate THAT last bedtime bottle, you need to be sure to be firm and friendly while enforcing this. NO more bottles. If you cave and give a bottle, you will be training them to cry and scream and demand one until you produce one for them. Don’t go down that road!
Good luck and remember – consistency is key!
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.