Mother’s learn to wean a baby from the bottle from different sources
When seeking advice on how to raise my baby girl, I relied on my pediatric physician, my mom and different readings that I had done, in Reader’s Digest and Parent’s Magazine. When my daughter, born in 1987 was born, having a personal PC where you could surf the Internet and look for answers, had not yet come into being.
Nowadays, there are several good articles that provide helpful tips such as Beth Callahan’s, “Taking the Step: How to Wean Your Baby” or Sara Waganer’s, “How to Wean Your Baby from a Bottle.”
And there is always the frequently asked question, “When to Wean your Baby from a Bottle,” that UCSF Hospital’s website, gives pretty clear guidance about, in their article titled, “FAQ: Baby Bottle Weaning.”
Many advocates say to breastfeed but even then, at times, mothers are pumping and still using the bottle to feed their babies.
Weaning a baby from the bottle and when?
In general, according to the above hospital source, “Children can try a sippy cup at 6 months of age, and be weaned off the bottle between 12 and 18 months.
UCSF says, “Children are ready to be weaned when they
• Can sit up by themselves
• Can eat from a spoon
• Show more interest in solid foods
• Have an established routine for mealtimes”
Wean a baby gradually from the bottle
The website also says the process should be gradual, and that children should be weaned off the bottle because, “Children using bottles are more likely to have tooth decay or improper dental development, and they may not develop appropriate feeding skills. Also, children who depend on bottle feedings may not consume enough solid foods to meet their nutrient needs.”
In our situation, my daughter had been troubled with repeated ear infections. When the doctor questioned me about my routine, I told him that at 15 months, Cassandra had been using the sippy cups during the day and only using the bottle when she took a nap or went to bed for the night.
Never to bed with a bottle of milk or juice
He was appalled that I was putting her to bed with her high-iron Similac, and suggested instead that I try and wean her from her bottle. He told me that as she slept, the liquid was running down her face and into her ears causing her pain and infection. Water was acceptable but milk and juice was not!
I felt like a terrible mom, but I didn’t know that was what was happening. I vowed that day to take her home and get rid of the bottle. Well, my daughter is a bit like I am, in that she is rather stubborn and likes to get her own way.
That afternoon was a nice spring day and she was toddling around the yard as I placed the bricks down for our new patio. I had purchased a few small pine trees that would go in front of the lattice fence my husband and I had built, so that they would eventually bring added privacy to the patio. It took me all day to lay the bricks but I did it, and then I decided to plant the trees before my husband got home to surprise him. I’m an advocate for women doing whatever they feel capable of doing; yard work is not strictly for the guys.
The growing of a bottle tree
As I was digging the hole to put the trees in the ground, my daughter became fascinated with what I was doing and why. I told her that when we planted trees in the ground, someday they would grow, and bring us a lot of happiness. She was really into that idea, so on a whim, I told her, almost jokingly, that we should “bury her bottles and grow a bottle tree!”
Someday she may be on a psychiatrist’s couch because of this, but she was into it at the time, and I went with it.
We scavenged the house and gathered all of her bottles, and brought them back outside, stuck them in a hole next to the trees I had planted, and buried them with dirt. Cassandra then watered the bottle tree dirt and the other trees for me with the hose.
We talked about what the bottle tree would look like when it grew up and we talked about her growing up and the different things she would need along the way to help her be healthy. I explained that trees needed sunlight and water to grow, and kids did too!
All was fine until bed time and then she realized her bottles were in the backyard, buried beneath the dirt.
After explaining that the bottle tree couldn’t grow without the “bottle seeds we had planted, and water” she agreed we should leave them there and wait to see what happened. She finally fell asleep without her bottle because she was “growing up” too.
That was the end of her using a bottle during naps and at night. Whenever it came up, we talked about growing the bottle tree and sometimes we would even check the ground for bottle tree sprouts.
Overnight and all of a sudden was how it happened in our house, because of a medical need and the realization that I was being a “bad mother” by putting her to bed with the bottle. I took the first chance to change her mind about the situation, and capitalized on introducing her to a new concept.
This is not the way the experts recommend doing it, but with us, “Growing a bottle tree”, was a winner of a way to wean a baby from the bottle and teach about tree growth, kid growth and dreaming new dreams.
Taking the Step: How to Wean your baby, Beth Callahan, AC
How to Wean Your Baby from a Bottle, Sarah Waganer
FAQ: Baby Bottle Weaning, UCSF Hospital