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Nightweaning the bottle-nursed child

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  • Nightweaning the bottle-nursed child

    I was unable to bf due to surgery related to breast cancer. I tried and tried, but no leche here! DS has been bottle nursed, with donor milk for his 1st year and raw cow's milk since then. He is a milk addict but he only likes to bottle nurse at night. He will take a sippy during the day, but not a sippy of milk. During the night, he takes 1 - 10 oz bottle to fall asleep with and 2 - 6 oz. bottles during his 2 wakings. He seems to have a firm idea of what milk is...

    Milk is awesome
    Milk is for bottles
    Milk is for night

    He will turn 2 at the end of September and I am concerned for his dental health (he also abhors tooth brushing). I feel I need to nightwean him from bottle nursing but I have no idea HOW to try to do this.

    We have been through literally every brand/kind of sippy on the market, he will not take milk from a sippy. I have tried offering the bottle during the day for him to sip on, and he invariably ends up bottle nursing himself right into an unplanned nap (that only messes up his otherwise normal routine). He doesn't fall asleep b/c he's tired, the bottle nursing is just so soothing to him that it lulls him to sleep. That makes me feel guilty for trying to bottle wean him because he OBVIOUSLY really gets a lot of comfort out of bottle nursing. He will not suck on a paci. He throws them at my head when I try!

    My desire to honor his needs for comfort sucking/nursing and to safeguard his dental health seem to be diametrically opposed.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to proceed? I have tried water in his bottles at night...those get tossed at my head in betrayed anger too...UGH!

    (cross posted to my local group)
    Last edited by Felicia; 08-04-2008, 02:41 PM. Reason: Mommy Brain! Apparently I don't know when my son was born and said he was turning 2 in December...what's up with that? LOL!

  • #2
    Oh tough challange!

    Maybe try slowly reducing amount of milk or slowly watering down the milk as a first step. Tandemly offer other soothing activities or items so its a slow switch, not an 'either' - 'or' situation.
    He may feel extra driven towards keeping his bottle now that you are attempting to remove it, and that makes it all the more difficult!
    You could -set a timer- and tell him that the bottle has to sleep in the refrigerator after the timer goes.
    Let him have a bottle but only in another room (living room.) If he is sad when you put him down for the night after that without the bottle - you could say "OK, you can have one but in that other room.." you both go in and let him have the bottle etc.... Now I mean gently with slow introductions over a period of time, lovingly with eye contact and hugs. Don't feel as if you are 'giving in' if after a few minutes you go back to the old way, just keep trying the new way every night (whatever way you decide) and try to make a little progress. He will get upset, I am sure, but distress with mommy holding you is much better then abrupt change alone!


    • #3
      It's almost like you're describing MY son!!!! He was absolutely bottle crazy until he was like 26 months. Wouldn't go to bed or down for a nap without it, wouldn't take water in a bottle, wouldn't take milk in a cup. I was stressed about this for a while, tried watering down the bottle milk and giving him "yummy" (whole) milk in a sippy - no go. Then one day he was just done with bottles. All on his own, cold turkey. I guess he was just ready.

      As for dental issues, I was a thumb sucker and never needed braces, my sister was not and had the worst overbite in the history of teeth, so I didn't worry about that at all.

      Maybe your son is just not ready yet and will let you know when he is.


      • #4
        i wonder if the nipple removal technique from elizabeth pantley's book "no-cry sleep solution" would work for a bottle-fed baby too?

        it involves removing the nipple (in this case, an artificial one) when the child is very drowsy but not fully asleep. if he fusses, you give it back, but keep trying to remove the nipple until he goes to sleep without it. it will take several days and you will lose more sleep than usual but the end result is that he will sleep without a nipple in his mouth.

        for more details, check out ms pantley's book.

        hope this helps. keep us posted!