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Shaking the extended bottle feeding habit

April 7, 2014
Original Author: Keren Perles

Courtesy of WebMD

Image Credit: Courtesy of WebMD

So if your baby is still using a bottle and isn’t letting go of it easily, what can you do to help him transition?

Here are some tips from the experts:

1. Start early. When your child is about six or seven months old, you can start introducing her to a regular drinking cup, says Christine Betzold, a nurse practitioner who is chair of the Orange County Breastfeeding Coalition. Alternatively, try using a sippy cup with the no-spill plug removed. Once a child is able to drink from either of these options, you can start transitioning her to her new cup for all drinks.

2. Do not let your child walk around with any liquids other than water in a bottle or a sippy cup, advises Betzold. Instead, make a rule that they need to sit down in order to drink.

3. Do not add baby cereal or other solid foods to a bottle, and do not prop the bottle for your baby.

4. Skip the no-spill sippy cup, if at all possible. Nakamura explains that sippy cups can cause some of the same problems as bottles, since children often walk around all day drinking milk or juice from them. This not only encourages extra calorie consumption, but also exposes the teeth to sugar frequently. If a no-spill sippy cup seems essential, fill it with plain water.

5. Wean your child from the bottle slowly, if possible, suggests Nakamura. You can begin by watering down your child’s milk or formula little by little, and by wiping out his mouth with a washcloth or rinsing it with water after they drinking milk or sugary liquids.

6. Keep in mind that some kids are harder to wean than others. “Sometimes the child is really resistant, and if I were counseling the parent, I would encourage them to first try a few weaning techniques,” says Betzold. “As a provider, I would find it acceptable as long as they are working toward bottle weaning and the kid is under age 4.”