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Weaning - What Is Expected

Weaning from bottle-feeding

Your bottle-fed baby should continue to get nutrition largely from formula until he or she is 12 months old. After that, allowing your child to continue drinking from a bottle may lead to problems such as baby bottle tooth decay camera.gif.

These suggestions may be helpful when you are trying to get your baby to stop taking a bottle.

  • Get rid of one bottle-feeding every 5 to 7 days. Give your baby extra hugs and comfort during this change.
  • Give a bottle only when your baby is being held in your arms. Do not allow your baby to crawl, walk around, or go to bed with the bottle. Doing so turns the bottle into a comfort item, may hinder two-handed development, and can lead to dental cavities.
  • Offer the cup first, then the bottle. Put a little more liquid in the cup and a little less liquid in the bottle each time.
  • If your baby is 6 months of age or older, gradually dilute the formula in the bottle with water so that it will not taste as good.
  • Put liquids your child likes in the cup, and put liquids your child does not like as much in the bottle. Later, put only water in the bottle, and put juice, iron-fortified formula, or milk (if the baby is over 1 year old) in the cup. Juice is not recommended for babies 0 to 6 months.
  • Start a new bedtime ritual. Read a story and then give the bottle while you rock your baby. At each bedtime, slowly decrease the time your child drinks from the bottle, and continue reading a story. Eventually replace the bottle with a comfort item, such as a favorite stuffed toy or blanket.
  • Provide other sources of calcium, such as yogurt or cheese, if your baby is not drinking at least 16 fl oz (500 mL) of formula from a cup each day. Your baby needs calcium every day for growth.
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