There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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Banishing Baby Bottles

I get many questions about how and when to wean babies from the bottle. Let’s face it, babies love bottles and are reluctant to give them up.

There are three reasons little ones want a bottle: they are hungry and seek the nutrition that milk provides, they are thirsty and need some liquid, or they feel a need for the emotional comfort that sucking brings.

All babies will eventually wean from the bottle because they start getting all the calories they need from food and milk in a cup. They realize that thirst can be slaked by drinking water out of a cup or through a straw. And they develop the ability to do so many new things that they no longer need the old kind of emotional comfort.

Parents ask me whether to try the cold turkey method. Or gradual replacement. Or wait for self-weaning. Actually there is a time and place for all three methods.

Whether your baby is on the breast or bottle-fed by age 7 months you should offer liquids in a cup. Also by then, although nutritional needs can be met by breast milk or formula, the child needs to learn the skills involved in eating solid foods from a spoon and picking them up with the fingers.

Most parents use sippy cups to start. But I met a mother in London recently who uses the old-fashioned small mugs with handles because she feels avoiding spills help her children develop coordination.

Gradually you decrease the amount of liquid in the bottle and increase the amount in the cup. Keep track of milk intake which should be between 16 and 24 ounces a day. Less than 16 ounces won’t give your child enough calcium and other nutrients, more than 24 may fill the child’s tummy with so much milk that there is less room for solid foods.

Pediatricians feel quite strongly that a baby should NEVER be put to bed with a bottle. Sucking on the bottle at night results in pooling of milk which can cause tooth decay. If you didn’t get this advice and are giving your baby milk in a bottle at night, start right now substituting water for milk at night. And eventually go to the cold turkey method: no night bottles.

You want to banish bottles entirely? This is what my daughter did with her twins when they were about 18 months old. Tell your child that the Bottle Fairy is coming soon to get all the bottles. Point out, “You don’t need a bottle anymore because you are so big. The Bottle Fairy will give your bottles to smaller babies who really need them.” Make a ceremony of packing up all the bottles and nipples. (Keep a couple of bottles out of sight and securely hidden in case your child gets an illness that requires encouraging fluids).

When the magic night occurs, leave the packed bottles next to the fireplace or inside the front door and see to it that by the next morning the Bottle Fairy has done her work.

Do lots of What a big boy (or girl) you are! You don’t need a baby bottle anymore! Praise for this accomplishment, and all the little accomplishments of childhood, encourage kids to do their job which is growing up!