Friday, March 23, 2012

Weaning + bedtime routines.


Elliot is 15 months old. His doctors have been telling me he was supposed to be weaned off the bottle months ago, but... HOW?

Right now, he gets 2-3 bottles a day. He used to get 8 ounces, but I've cut him back to 6- and will probably continue giving him less over time to help him wean? One before each nap {sometimes he only takes one nap} and one before bed. No, I don't give it to him in his crib or anything. He never walks/crawls around with it, either- and he doesn't get anything other than milk in his bottles. He drinks water out of his straw sippy throughout the day... and has had milk in it before, too.

At naptime, I put some soft music on, and we sit on the couch together, with him in my lap, while I give him his bottle. Once he's finished {he doesn't usually finish the whole thing these days}, I stand up and rock/bounce him for a few minutes before bringing him up to his room and laying him down. His naps are kind of all over the place right now. Until recently, he always napped at 10 and 3. Well, lately his morning nap has been later- 11-12ish. Then he gets SUPER tired between 4 and 5, like, he is practically falling asleep/having meltdowns about the smallest things. So sometimes he will take a nap around then, but if we're busy/out he won't. If he only had the one nap a day, he would literally be ready for bed by 6. And that's just not practical for us, since my husband doesn't get home until after 5.

At bedtime, he gets his bath between 7-7:30, then he gets all cozy in his pajamas and we head back downstairs for his bottle. For whatever reason, bedtime is easier. I don't really rock or bounce him much- I can lay him down sleepily awake and he usually won't even cry- he just falls asleep on his own. Naps, on the other hand, are a different story. I sometimes spend a long time rocking/bouncing him before I can put him in his crib... and no matter how tired he is, he starts crying the second I lay him down.

Whenever he is tired, he starts asking for his "baba." It's the only word he says, and he sounds sooo cute and sweet when he asks for it. The bottle is his way of transitioning from being a wide awake wild child to a sleepy little one. I've tried on multiple occasions just rocking him without the bottle, and he usually won't even lay still. He squirms and looks at me like I'm a crazy woman. He just knows, when he sees the bottle, that it's time to go to sleep.

Elliot and his blankie, right after he woke up from a nap.

My plan? Elliot has recently become very attached to his blanket. Whenever he wakes up, he insists on bringing it with him and cuddling it for a few minutes before he's ready to tackle the day. I was thinking of kind of using that to my advantage. I want to get a glider for his room, because his rocking chair is cute, but NOT comfortable to rock in. Then, I was thinking of trying to just go upstairs into his room, where his lullaby music is always playing, and rocking him in my lap for awhile with his blankie in his lap. The tricky part here is that I don't want him to get dependent on being completely rocked to sleep- especially not with the new baby coming. I'd like to be able to just rock him for a few minutes, maybe even introduce reading a bedtime story, and then lay him down awake without too much drama. Sounds pretty simple, right? I don't know if it will be quite so easy, though!

So here's my question to you-
How/when did you wean from the bottle {or boob?}
Any tips? Tricks? Suggestions?

Oh, one more thing-
At what age do most people start reading bedtime stories before bed?
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve laying in bed with my parents and reading a book {or two, or three...} before bed. I've always wanted to do the same with my kids- but is it too early? It just seems like such a foreign idea right now, so far off from our current bedtime routine. We read books during the day, during playtime!

My goal is to have him completely weaned before Sully is born- so that gives me approximately 2 months. I don't want it to be too traumatic of an experience for him. And he's been sleeping GREAT at night lately- 12-13 hours straight every night... I'd like to keep it that way!


  1. we have that blanket!

    We haven't weaned from the bottle yet (baby is 16 months old). She does do milk in a sippy cup at daycare, but at home she has a morning baba, an afternoon baba and a bedtime baba. I am trying to get the afternoon baba at home into a sippy, but this girl is hard headed! (when i try to put milk in a sippy for the afternoon nap, she just shakes her head no and won't even touch it). I think we just have to be STRONG!

    I am not stressed about weaning yet, it will happen!

    About his nap time, you said that sometimes he only takes one nap, have you thought about transitioning into one nap a day, every day? Shelby is at one nap, and by 11:30-12:00 she is so tired that she falls alseep in my arms while I am reading her a book before nap!

    Might make for easier nap times! And Shelby naps for up to 2.5 hours some day!

    I think your plan to move his glider in the nursery is good, that way you can be comfortable while trying to not do the bedtime baba. Good luck and keep us posted!

  2. Our Josh is 11 months old mainly eats normal food, but he has a bottle to help him sleep for his nap around 2ish and then at about 6 he has a bath and then I read to him while he drinks his bottle then it's off to sleep :)
    Everyone's different though dont forget if Elliot's happy and healthy then who cares what the doctor has to say, at least he's getting his milk intake lol x x

  3. Let me know if you find something that works for you. Carter just turned 16 months old and is very far from weaning from his bottle. I can't even get him to take a sippy cup. We gave him a sippy cup around 6 months and he has it in front of him at every meal. It usually just ends up on the floor. We've tried 3 different kinds. I did get him using the kind that has a straw for about 2 days, but now he wants nothing to do with it. I've decided not to stress about it though. It will happen when he's ready. I'm always open to tips though :)

  4. When our little one was 11 months, I traveled to see my family in another continent. I decided it would be a good time to try to eliminate his bed time bottle and see what happens. I kept the other routines the same (songs, book) and he never even asked for it. I guess changing the environment made him forget about it.

    We started bedtime stories at around 6 months or so, but it was only at 18-20 months that he actually started to actually listen to them, asking questions about them and repeating them.


  5. Sleep train. That's all I can say. It took us until about 8 months to do it and commit to it. I was having to give Bennett a bottle and rock/bounce him to sleep. And like Elliot, he would wake up as soon as I put him down. It was really getting ridiculous. My doctor told me that by then, they should be able to sooth themselves and that as much as it sucked, by the time they are that age - you are just going to have to let them cry it out. I know that it's a controversial subject - some people are totally against it and I completely understand that. I really do, I was at first too. But my hubby is the one who put his foot down. And I'm SO glad he did because after we sleep trained Bennett, naptimes and bedtimes because a breeze.
    Here's how it went down:
    At 8 months Bennett was 50% nursed and 50% bottle fed. He would either nurse from me or get a bottle before nap/bed time, but we stopped rocking/bouncing him and let him cry. Some days, he would cry for up to a hour. It was torture for me, I would have to leave the house sometimes at night to get away from it cause all I wanted to do was go in there and comfort him. But I didn't. But here's the thing, after he realized we weren't coming in the room, he would konk out and sleep for hours (for his nap) and sleep all through the night just fine. After about 4 weeks, he put himself to sleep happily. I'd lay him down after his bottle and he'd just lay in his crib and babble happily until he fell asleep. It was truly amazing.
    I stopped nursing him at around 11 months, but he still got a bottle of milk until he was 15 months old. He didn't have any problem letting go of the bottle because he was already sleep trained. So maybe that's an idea??
    Best of luck lady, I know it's hard!!

  6. We continued night time bottles until about two, but took out bottles during the daytime. I bought sippy cups that had very soft silicon tops so they resembled a bottle but wasn't, and started giving him those during the day. He didn't even notice. Eventually we started giving him those at night too and he might have whined a tiny bit for a regular bottle once or twice, but that was it. :) As for bedtime stories, I don't think there is such thing as too young, but I know what you mean. My son is 2 1/2 (I don't even count months anymore, LOL), and when I read to him, I don't think he is fully paying attention to what I'm saying and he tries to skip ahead, or wants to move on to something else, but we still do it now and then. Good luck!!

  7. My 3 year old still has his milk in a bottle! Cow's milk, 2-3 times a day. After breakfast, at afternoon 'rest' time (watching TV) and at bedtime. I did stress about it when he was younger but most of my friends kids had stopped drinking milk when they were weaned from the breast and their advice was just to e glad he's still drinking milk! Everything else he drinks from a normal cup, at daycare he even drinks milk from a cup.

    We started stories before bed when he was really young- around 1-2 months.

    One thing that may help E adjust to a new routine is to role play with a doll/teddy. We did it at around 15months when we had to sleep train him as he was waking 3-4 times a night for a feed!

  8. I agree with Mandy. Sleep training. It's not for everyone, there's tons of different methods, but you will literally not have enough time or hands, especially with just you around, to rock/bounce 2 boys to sleep.

    I have no advice on how to wean from a bottle, Braden was weaned from the boob just after he turned 1, but I had slowly been weaning him from 8 months and started him (slowly) on homo milk at 9 months. I just know they should be off the bottle mostly for proper oral/dental development. Will he take formula from a straw sippy cup?

    We've always read to Braden. Have always had a very established bedtime routine: clean up toys (when older), bath time, brush teeth, jammie, read about 3 stories, and off to bed. He's really been into story time since he was about 1. Good luck! At the end of the day, you gotta do what works best for your family.

    P.S. Have you considered getting rid of Captcha? This is my 3rd darn time trying to enter the words! But I love your blog and love to comment....such a pain!

  9. Also wanted to say he's probably at the age to cut down to 1 big nap in the afternoon. Braden had a HARD time weaning from 2 naps to 1, but once he got it, it was BLISS! I tried to keep him up until 12ish (sleeps 7PM-8AM) then he'd nap until 3 or so but be reeeeeeally tired by bedtime, took a good month to get used to just one nap. Maybe time to try that?

  10. both my boys had no problem giving up their bottles. the day they turned one i just stopped giving it to them and they didn't even seem to notice. why not just use a sippy cup at naptime instead?

  11. Our son barely used the bottle really, so we just stopped giving it to him at 12 months, and switched to a sippy. No he's 25 months and we're trying to switch to a regular cup for milk (he probably drinks 16-18 ozs of milk a day), and a straw cup for water.

    He started to get really into books around 18 months. We read 4-6 books before bed, and usually a couple throughout the day. He has a basket of books beside his bed, so we usually find a few in his bed every morning too : )

  12. After months & many different sippy cups I have finally gotten Rylin off the bottle! The Avent soft spout sippys are what did the trick for us. Rylin doesn't associate cups with bed time but still requires rocking & we are still cosleeping (even for naps) I'll be interested to see how it works out for you. Also, I'm sorry to hear about your hisband having to deploy so soon. I'll be keeping you all in my prayers.

  13. Brycen is soon to be 8 months and we've started weaning him off a bottle already! Right now, we offer "milk" (formula) in a cup with each meal - normally he'll drink an ounce or so with his meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner).. whatever he doesn't finish from his straw cup, i put into a bottle and finish it that way. we've also transitioned to cold formula (so it more seems like milk later on). at bed time, he gets a warm 8 oz bottle. he has no interest in holding a bottle and would rather hold a cup (so I figured he would already be ahead of the game on weaning). good luck and follow his lead - I think the new routine is a great idea

  14. Okay this probably isn't the best place to say this but first up just want to thank you for the kind words you've said over the past few days over on my blog :). I really appreciate it.

    Secondly...we weaned off the boob at 20 months. By this point my son was having a morning feed only and usually only on one side. It got to the point where both me and my husband were thinking 'is this feed actually doing him any good?' I'd always wanted to nurse until 2 years but I was also very open to natural weaning - whenever he showed signs of weaning I would stop feeding from the breast.

    Well he showed all the 'right' signs at 20 months and so one morning we didn't feed at all and he was fine with it. No complaints, no heart ache and no attachments. To him breast feeding has always been food, survival and I think a small fraction of most infants and toddlers it seems to go the other way, so I was surprised.

    We never did use bottles - maybe once or twice with expressed milk but only when he was really small. He never took a binky and went straight from breast to an open cup. He gets a sippy cup from my mother in law but he won't take one at home.

    I've seen parents do all kinds of things but one thing that really worked was sending the bottles away in a bag, for the 'bottle fairy' and then replacing the bottles with grown up sippy cups.

  15. Oh - and bedtime stories: from 6 weeks! Our government here say to read to babies from 6 weeks as they love to hear your voice and I think it gets parents into a nice routine :).

    We've slipped up somewhat on reading bedtime stories now and then but they're a lovely part of growing up and definitely worth doing.

  16. I nursed my youngest son (now 2 years and 1 month) until he was 17 months. By that point it was only to go to sleep and I'd do it in my bed so as soon as he was asleep I could slip out. I am completely against sleep training for my family as there is no way I could listen to my little one crying for me and not go to him. I should add that my son was a terrible, awful sleeper ~ his usual cycle was at the most 2 hours (and a lot of nights 45 minutes only) before waking up and needing to be comforted again. And I don't exaggerate!

    In any case, I did the, "don't ask, don't give" with the milk and as he loves stories, we read them at the same time as nursing (instead of before as we were doing) and slowly he was more interested in hearing the story and forgot about the nursing and would just go to sleep. Now, at 2 years, he sleeps 10 solid hours ~ and I have a newborn baby now too.

    If you're not ready to wean him from the bottle, or he isn't ready, listen to your own instincts as his Mummy :) Every child is very different (my newborn sleeps through the night with only one waking!) and there's no one-size-fits all. :)

    Oh, with the bedtime stories, we started at about 6 weeks too. My little one will now read most of his favourite books by memory to me! It's amazing.

    Good luck! It gets easier! :)

  17. Marshall is almost 17 months and is half on the bottle and half on sippy cups. He'll drink out of a sippy during the day, but still needs his bottle for naps and going to bed at night. I'm hoping to have him off the bottle 100% in the next 1 - 2 months. Not sure how we're going to do it yet :)

  18. The best I can gather from talking to others is that every baby is different. My son is 2 yrs + 2 mos old. He still nurses at night, but I don't let him go to sleep initially with nursing anymore. He comes and gets in our bed around 2 am and I offer him the breast then (most of the time I actually sleep through the "offering" part, so it's not a conscious thing even). I did eventually get to a point right at around 23 months when I had to let him cry it out a little, but I NEVER left his side through the process. I let him cry, but I sat next to him stroking his head the whole time. We instituted a successful bedtime story routine around the same time: prior to that, he didn't have the attention for it. Best of luck to you!

  19. Both of my kids "quit me" as far as nursing goes around 12 months old. We went straight to the sippy cups (very few bottles) for milk. They both still get cow's milk at least 3 times a day or more (my 2 year old gets it probably closer to 6 times a day) but always from a sippy cup. They were more attached to the milk than what it was coming from. They both still get a glass before bedtime that "signals" the bedtime routine is starting. I read to each of them in their own room (max of 2-3 books a night or only 1 if its a long one). Both of mine love reading. I'm struggling with the fact that I start the bedtime routine around 7 and usually don't leave the last bedroom until 9 (including baths). Someone mentioned that I should start reading to them together - but I cherish the alone time with each one each night. My 5 year old still likes her milk warmed in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. i really don't like warming her milk still, but i can't argue with the fact that its milk and not juice or whatever. But my boy prefers his cold. So you can try warming it in the sippy cup. My girl gave me more trouble transferring to a sippy cup but I slowly showed her tough love - either the sippy cup of milk or nothing at all. it didn't take long for her to give in. and i tried MANY different types of cups until i found the one that works for her. My boy just goes with whatever. he'll take whatever i give him. i got lucky with him. I also had pumped so much extra milk that I began doing 5 oz breast milk with 1 oz whole milk in a cup; then slowly titrated to the reverse over a month. every couple of days or every week i would change the amount to where it was eventually all whole milk. I had to do the same with whole milk and then 2% milk with her - she could taste the difference. Again, my boy never knew I changed anything and didn't have to do any titrating with him.
    just find what works for you and don't worry about what other kids do. he'll get off the bottle when he sees other kids. and the naps will get better - sounds like he's TRYING to go to one nap a day. my oldest would do 2 one day and 1 the next --did that for a few months, but eventually did 1 nap around 12:30/1:00-3:00.
    i know new baby girl on the way will probably teach me all new things when it comes to feeding (from what i've heard). Good luck and don't stress over it!

  20. Hey! Damian is doing the exact same thing as Elliot as far as the bottle goes and I've had numerous healthcare professionals fuss at me for leaving him on the bottle. However I'm not worried about it because 1. it works for us and 2. the bottle is my form of breast feeding him since I couldn't. I wasn't going to force him off the breast so I'm not going to force him off the bottle. If it comforts him and makes him sleep I think it's fine. I seriously doubt Damian or Elliot will be in pre-K still sucking on a bottle. lol It might also be a nice comfort for him once Sully gets here... Good luck with the new routine though! If it works let me know your tricks because recently Damian's gotten really dependent on being rocked to sleep for naps.


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