I fought the bottle (of milk)… and I won!

January 31, 2012

It has now been just over 3 weeks since D had her last bottle of milk, so I am happy to confidently report that we are currently a bottle-free house. I haven’t washed a bottle or nipple in 24 days. Wahoo!

Our doctor has been recommending D drop the bottles all together by 18 months (which she turns tomorrow!), but until recently I was scared to even try. We were successful in getting her down to just having them at night – 1, maybe 2, before bedtime if she drank the first one and was still wanting more – but I had no idea how she was going to get to sleep without those. Well, I would usually give her one before naps on weekends, too, so I guess *almost* only at night would be more accurate. Only at sleep time, we’ll say, that’s better.

I didn’t feel like she was ready to drop them completely, and if I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t really want her to drop them either. It’s almost like it was the last vestige of her really being a baby, and I didn’t want that tie to be broken just yet. I didn’t want to give up that bonding time we still had when I would rock her to sleep with her bedtime bottle.

I say we were successful in getting her down to just sleep time bottles – that was probably by December that the morning and random daytime bottles were totally gone (i’m talking bottles at home – she hasn’t had one at daycare since at least last summer). Then we went to Hawaii, and it turned into a bottle free-for-all. We took multiple ones in the diaper bag on the planes to calm her in flight if needed. We gave them to her in the mornings if she wanted them. We gave them to her at the pool before naps so she would snooze in the shade. We took them to restaurants when we went out to lunch and dinner to keep her calm if needed. And yes, we gave them to her at bedtime each night too.

So you see, we totally screwed ourselves there. How was she ever going to give them up now, after we’d just jacked her bottle quotient up higher than it had been in months? The poor girl was in bottle heaven!

We simply went cold turkey, that’s how she gave them up. The week after we got back from Hawaii, I conceded that she could still have 1 bottle, but only 1, and only right before bedtime. If she drank it then didn’t go to sleep, she wouldn’t get another when she finally did go down. That lasted a night or 2, before I realized that if we’re cutting her back down to this level, we may as well try to get rid of the whole shebang.

We started on a Saturday, and the first night sans bottle – terrible. I took her in to her room at bedtime and rocked her while reading a book, because I could tell she was really sleepy. She had her little burp cloth that she likes to hold at bedtime, and we were snuggled in tight in the glider in her room. Eventually she got very squirmy, and I could tell I was in for a struggle. Instead of putting her down, though, I held her in a cradle hold and stood up to bounce/rock her like I did to soothe her when she was really little. She wanted none of it, but I just kept her there, held snugly against my chest so her head was resting in the crook of my arm.

After about 15-20 minutes of the crying cradle hold rock, she was out like a light. R had come in at the start of the cries and told me to just give her a bottle, we’d try again tomorrow, but I insisted on not giving her any more. I knew how tired she was and that she’d eventually give in to sleep, and I was right. I knew you could do it, D.

The second night – cries again, but for a much shorter time. The third night – cries again, but even shorter still. By the middle of that first week of no bottles at bedtime, D knew the routine. We get her rag and book, then go in to rock before going night-night. Sometimes she’ll fall asleep on the couch in R’s lap while he’s watching tv, but most nights I read and rock her. I do usually read and rock her for nap time on weekends too, but she has gotten better about going down without that sometimes.

The first week after dropping the bottles D did wake up during the night a little more often than normal, but that has since diminished as well. This transition turned out to be much less frightening than I expected, which helped my mama heart. D was an absolute trooper, as usual. I figured if she never has bottles at daycare and simply lies down to sleep at nap time for them, she can do it at home too. She proved me right.

What are her favorite bedtime stories, you ask? Right now we like The Little Red Hen and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I usually have to read The Little Red Hen a couple times before she falls asleep, but so far I’ve only made it all the way through One Fish, Two Fish once. It’s amazing how quickly you can memorize a children’s book. “Not I! said the duck…”



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

natalie@FourJedis January 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

It’s really hard to get to those milestones which make our babies less baby. For what it’s worth, I still look at my older son, who is five, and think of him as a baby. Congrats on being bottle free… the only thing I’ve been really excited about is going diaper-free. 🙂


_ScooterMarie January 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

@natalie1 Oo, diaper-free will be a big one, too. And yes, very nice! I think I will look at D as a baby for quite some time, really. She’s only 1.5 years old – plenty of “baby” time left. 😉


shellthings January 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Yay, what a milestone!


_ScooterMarie January 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm

@shellthings Thanks, Shell!


thehhhousewife January 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm

So glad that transition went better than you thought it would!


_ScooterMarie January 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm

@thehhhousewife Thank you, Claire! I’m not gonna lie – it had me pretty freaked out so I was very relieved it ended up going how it did.


deannabe1 February 1, 2012 at 1:03 am

Whoo hoo! Congratulations! A bit impressive how much easier it was when you made the decision and stuck too it. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been if you had given in on the first night. Good for you for sticking it out!


_ScooterMarie February 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

@deannabe1 I know, I thought the exact same thing. If we just kept giving in when she cried, we’d never get rid of the bottles. Thank you!


BlairKernodleScheepers February 1, 2012 at 5:39 am

Congratulations! I think our little ones are better at adjusting to change than we are…


_ScooterMarie February 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

@BlairKernodleScheepers Thanks, Blair! You know, I think so too. They’re so resilient; it amazes me every day.


juliewrites February 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Congrats. It is hard to help your little ones grow up. With my daughter we transitioned from the bottle to a sippy cup with a nipple, and then I changed the nipple for a silicon sippy top, and then a hard sippy top. This took about 3 weeks and worked great.


_ScooterMarie February 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

@juliewrites Thank you! I know, it is so hard seeing her move on stage to stage, because I really still think of her as this little baby girl. Fortunately she’s done great with various types of sippy cups for milk, water, and juice for months now, it was just ditching that last bedtime bottle. And now that’s done!


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