Weaning your child off their bottles can seem like a daunting task. But there are so many great ways to do so.
I have twins who are now fully off of formula and bottles. We removed bottles with no problem at 10 months and formula at 12 months, due to doctor’s orders that they had to be on formula until 1 year. Both went seamlessly.
My rule with almost everything is start early!
Also VARIETY! Foods, cups and liquids.
By having them try and learn from a few different options of cups, they will be less likely to concentrate on their bottles. It will seem normal that there is a different cup each time.
For food, you will need to wait until the doctor approves, usually around the 4 month mark you can add cereal, fruits and vegetables to their diet.
Adding a high chair breakfast and dinner to your little ones schedule at this point will give them the steady feeling that when they are in their high chairs, it’s time to eat.
Aiming to have high chair meals at the same time every day also helps your baby learn that when they wake up, it’s time to change and have breakfast!
Also, have meals last no longer than a half hour. Doing this, restricts when they are supposed to eat, shows them they can’t take their time (which is less filling to them) and is more efficient for their over all day time schedule.
A few weeks into trying new fruits and veggies, I started giving my twins a sippy cup (with 1-2 ounces of water) to hold and explore while still in their chair (after they finish their meals). We were using Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi-Straw Cup. This cup is amazing because no matter how they tilt the cup, the weighted straw will send water or formula to their mouth when they take a sip.
They would feel the different spouts and straws, to get used to each one.
As for the amount of formula from the bottles that they were drinking: this slowly decreased the more meals that they ate.
Meals and bottles go hand and hand. I’ve had many friends and parents say that my children are great eaters. This is because of the bottle weaning we did.
If your little one is still drinking four or five 8-10 ounce bottles of milk each day, that is the reason they are not eating their sit down meals.
All sit down meals should be fully eaten before giving your baby a sippy cup with water. About a half hour after high chair meals, I give them their milk/formula (in a different sippy cup).
They should be filling themselves up in the chair and not with the bottle. Eventually, your child will eat and immediately follow their meals with milk.
My grandmother always made us eat all of our meal before we could get a drink. I believe this works for all ages.
It is only after formula and milk intake gets smaller that they will start eating more solid foods. If this transition is made early, it will be easier. But even if your 1-2 year old is being difficult, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
There will be speed bumps along the way. But try new things and don’t give up!
At 10 months, they were drinking all of their formula meals from the Munchkin Mighty Grip Sippy Cup. It was a sad day when I cleaned the last Avent baby bottle. But I knew that it was best for them to get off the bottles early.
By the end of the 10th month, due to meat and protein being added to the high chair meals, bottles should be down to a 4 ounce when they wake in the morning and three more 6 ounces a little bit after each high chair meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Once our little girl started sitting up during milk time, the Munchkin Mighty Grip was no longer an option for her. She fully switched all of her drinks to strawed cups, still a variety of them. We then found Nuby 2 Handle Flip n’ Sip Straw Cup.
Similar to the Munchkin Weighted Flexi-Straw Cup but the straw was a stand still. She soon learned to hold the cup still and upright if she wanted all of the milk.
Our little boy was using Munchkin Mighty Grip Sippy Cup for a while. When we first started giving them the cups with a straw, he would drink from it. But one day too much water came, too fast and I think that it scared him a bit so we have been slowly working back up to getting him to drink from a straw.
TIP: If this happens to your baby, try getting a paper dixie cup and cut it to a half an inch tall. Then get a straw, place on your baby’s high chair and show him the liquid in the cup. If they see what will be coming through the straw they are more likely to sip it and start trusting straws again.
As I mentioned before, we were switching the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup in and out after their high chair meals. This cup is amazing because it is teaching them to drink from a cup. To use this cup, you actually need to tilt the cup and suck the cap to get the water from it.
This is also a great cup for your littles when learning to use a cup with no lid. It is easy to hold and rounded without the lid on for a comfortable sip.
TIP: Let them try a cup without a lid on in the tub. Fill the cup with water and hand it over! It will be great not to have to wipe up the water!
Switching from Formula to Milk
After your baby is 11 months, start switching one of their bottles to milk per week. If you have already started meal times and they are steadily eating more in each high chair meal then they should be down to under 24 ounces a day by 12 months.
Each week, one more bottle will be milk. So by the end of the month, all four bottles will be milk. I would highly recommend starting with the third bottle of the day, then the following week the first and third.
This way the milk is spread out. And there is still some formula in their diet to get them accustomed.
Please check out Starting your Baby on Solid foods for an even more detailed way to build your child’s meal time appetite!
Have you found another sippy cup that helped your baby to wean off their bottle? Let me know in the comments below!