Dear Director,My 18 month old is literally addicted to his bottle. I know I should have started the weaning process months ago but I just couldn’t stand to hear him cry. I feel desperate; because the longer I wait the harder it will be to wean him. Help!!! “Desperate in Dorchester” Dorchester, MA
The weaning process is usually a challenge no matter what the age of your child. I have learned from my experience as a childcare professional and as a mom and that each child weans differently. With some it is an easy process and with others it can be more difficult. However, like all stages of learning and development with children, weaning is a process. The best practice is to start the weaning process as early as possible (8 – 10) months, by transitioning from bottle to sippy cup. The key is teaching your child that the bottle is only a food source. When the bottle becomes a source of comfort to him or her it becomes an addiction, and then weaning becomes a problem instead of a natural process in the growth and development of your child.
THE WEANING PROCESS
- As soon as you start the weaning process, stay consistent. It is extremely important that you stick to your plan or the process will just continue to drag on.
- Once your child is familiar with a cup, use it for one feeding each day for a week. The next week, replace another bottle with a cup. Do this each week until your baby is completely weaned from the bottle. Remember to stay consistent.
- Feeding your baby from a cup can take a lot longer than a bottle, so you must be very patient. As long as you keep cool and persevere, it will pay off in the end.
- Never feed your baby juice from a bottle. Juice should also not be fed by cup while weaning, or your child will expect it instead of milk. Feeding them juice will only prolong the weaning process.
- Don’t allow easy access to the bottle or sippy cup or allow your child to walk around or play with the bottle or sippy cup in their mouth or. The bottle and sippy cup should only be used as a food source; otherwise they both will become a source of comfort and defeat the purpose.
- Don’t switch back from cup to a bottle if you are getting frustrated. This will only confuse your baby and make the weaning process even longer.
Remember, consistency and patience is the key. Just like habits are not developed overnight, neither is breaking the habit. So practice patience and don’t give up! The payoff is seeing your baby develop into an independent child
Tartt’s Day Care Centers Inc. Boston based childcare centers operating since 1946 specialize in the care and education of infants and toddlers.
“Ask The Director “ is written by Wanda Geer in collaboration with Anita Handy and Nida Wright. Director’s at Tartt’s Day Care Centers Inc. their combined childcare experience totals 40 years.