Wednesday, May 2, 2012

on weaning


You may remember my post, weaning + bedtime routines which I wrote back in the end of March. It received a fantastic response with plenty of tips, hints, suggestions, and kinds words, which I really really appreciated. I promised to keep you all updated... so this is me keeping that promise. Better late than never, right?

I've decided NOT to wean him right now, after all.

That's probably not what you expected to hear, right? Well. Let me explain my thought process.

• Elliot only gets a bottle two times a day. One before his nap, and one before bed. Sometimes he gets a third, if he takes an afternoon nap, but he has been dropping that habit lately. It only takes him about ten minutes (or less, if he's super tired) to lay in my lap and suck down his milk, and then I lay him down to sleep {WITHOUT the bottle}- whether he's awake or not. He's figured out that bottle = sleep, and he doesn't cry anymore, even if he's wide awake when I lay him down. He just gets it.
• He happily drinks water, milk, and occasionally watered down juice out of his straw sippy throughout the day. He will also drink out of our water bottles and cups.
• It's not like he's walking around with a bottle hanging out of his mouth. He's also not sucking on it throughout the night in his crib. I understand the concern about dental hygiene, but I really doubt that drinking from a bottle for ten or twenty(ish) minutes a day will cause much harm.
• Elliot's world is about to change in a BIG way, with the arrival of his baby brother. I'm already anticipating some serious difficulty with him adjusting to sharing his mama. I won't be able to hold him as much, and he will constantly be competing for my attention. So, in my mind, why throw in another change right now? If it comforts him and helps him to still nap and sleep normally, even with the addition of his little brother, I'm okay with him having the bottle a little longer.

So, what have I decided to do? I'm not going to bother trying to wean right now. I think, once his baby brother is a few months old and Elliot has adjusted, we will try it again. At that point, he would likely be 20+ months old, and more capable of understanding. In fact, I think we will opt for the tough love method- one day, when I'm feeling brave enough, the bottles will simply disappear. If he asks or looks for them, which I'm sure he will, then I will just explain to him that he's a big boy now and big boys don't have bottles before bed. Instead, we will rock and read stories. Will it be tough? Probably. But I know we can do it.

Who knows? Maybe he'll wean himself naturally before then. He has already shown signs- sometimes he falls asleep after only a few sucks on the bottle, or (if we're out) he falls asleep without it. My original plan, had he been able to breastfeed, was to let him wean himself naturally. Perhaps he will let me know when he's ready.


  1. Thanks for your comment on my post about the same subject. Carter still drinks his bottle throughout the day (not just nap & bedtime). I've tried giving him a cup when it isn't sleep time, but he goes into a full breakdown. Right now I'm not strong enough to do the tough love thing. I'm hoping we can't get him to transition without having to do that, but who knows, we may end up having to do it one day. For now, I'm okay with him still having his bottle, but we'll see...

  2. Personally, I think letting your baby lead is a good thing. It's less stress and many times they let you know when they're ready for a transition. It was that way with my daughter and swaddling. She was swaddled until she was 7 months old! Some people said she needed to stop for the risk of sids and rolling, but she wouldn't have it. One day she was just done, she slept fine without it. It was the same thing with her starting solids, one day she just got it, and transitioning her to a sippy cup. I think you've got it right.

  3. A very wise child care provider once told me not to take the bottle away from a child who still uses a reclined position (comparable to nursing) to drink their bottle before they are laid down to sleep.

    It's OK to nurture your child and give them what they need.

  4. do it when YOU and ELLIOT are ready ignore what everyone else tells you. Like you say hes starting to show signs of not wanting it all the time so he might not want it at all soon. Besides Elliot is getting loads of calcuim if he has his bottle which at our kids ages is brilliant. they need it to grow so dont be in a rush to take him off it. one day he'll just wont use them xxx

  5. Aww Jess! Your son looks so sweet! I'm a new follower! I'd love you to come link up a post of yours to my linky party:

  6. My little one had a bottle until just after her 2nd birthday. . .I waited for her to be ready to wean (just as I would have with BF). I think you're making the right decision by waiting for Elliot to give it up :) They all do, eventually. . . .

  7. I'm in the same thought process for the paci in our house.

    New baby coming in July. Wasnt sure to take it from my current 16 month old or not. But its her only real comfort item. And uses it for naps and bed.

    It's hers for now

  8. My sleep book says not to change anything with their sleep habits 2 months before or after a new baby, it's just too much a of a change for them. I think, not that it matters what I think!, that just as long as you do plan on weaning him eventually - that's the important thing. I think 2 bottles a day would be fine for dental DEVELOPMENT, but putting a child to bed with formula/ sits on their teeth all night, and that's the bad "hygiene" part of falling asleep with a bottle. But it's not a forever thing, so I totally agree with you - do it when it's right for you and him, well after the baby is born.

    BUT, I will say, I really wanted to wait a longer time, more like just before 2 months before my next baby is due to get Braden into a toddler bed...he kinda just decided we had to do it now, I didn't feel ready...but I'm really glad it's "done" and dealt with so that I didn't have to do it right before, or right after baby came. Just my 2 cents, you know I respect you and would never judge any decisions a momma makes!

  9. Sounds like you are doing the right thing, sometimes you just have to follow your instincts for what works best for your child and not what's expected for children in general. Especially as you approach the arrival of number two consistency will really help. When he is ready to wean you will know :).

  10. Good plan. Do what you feel works and don't worry about outside pressure. WIth our first, we let him have a bottle before nap and bed all the way to two (we had our second when he was 19 months old). By two, that bottle was half milk/half next step formula. When he turned two, we switched him to a sippie cup with just warm milk and still let him have it before nap and bed. Don't remember when he quit, but he was a happy baby and toddler and didn't have any dental issues. Our current youngest is 2 1/2 and she still has warm milk in a sippie cup before nap and bed. We just brush after.

  11. I weaned my daughter just after Christmas and she was 19 months old. We did it cold turkey, but she still gets her milk before nap and bedtime in her sippy. We weaned her then because our new baby (2 weeks old now) would have bottles and I didnt want to have two kids with them. I figured if I weaned dd before the baby was born, she wouldnt want the baby's bottles when the baby had one. It worked. DD looks at bottles for baby and she is a big girl. Do what works for you. When we weaned dd from the bottles, she (for the 1st time in her life) decided to pick up a pacifier and we havent even bothered to try taking that away.


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-Dr. Seuss