After 1 year of age, babies no longer need a bottle, or milk/formula for that matter. Mothers who wish to breast feed after that age are very much encouraged to do so, but for those moms who formula feed or wish to wean there’s no real need to replace with a bottle.
In sleep training, one of the many props that babies will become dependent on is feeding either from a bottle or breast feeding. These babies look at feeding as something that they need to fall asleep — just like you and I need a pillow and a blanket. The problem with feeding to sleep is that baby needs mom or dad to do it. Once babies can learn to go down without needing a feed, sleep becomes better quality and more consolidated with fewer night wake-ups. And, parents get a bit more rest too!
Depending on your baby’s age, there is a possibility they may need to keep a feed or two at night. It’s important to always put the baby down again awake. And, if your baby is of a healthy weight by 6-7 months of age, they don’t actually need a night time feed any more. Babies who can’t seem to drop this often associate eating with sleeping.
Yvette O’Dowd explains that there’s no real evidence that continued formula use past 1 year helps to meet nutritional needs. In many cases, parents find that their child seems to be a picky eater or has a poor appetite and that’s because they’re getting full drinking liquids! If your baby has switched to solids, they will get better nutrition out of the foods they eat. Give your baby calcium rich foods like broccoli, leafy green veggies, tofu and more. These foods have much more calcium per serving than milk or formula.
Long term bottle use can also lead to dental issues, like tooth decay. This decay is caused by natural sugars (including those in milk) clinging to teeth and eating away at tooth enamel. Dentists encourage parents to try and cut the bottle as soon as possible to prevent this issue. My own sister had it as a baby and I can assure you that it was a costly and painful process for everyone!
It can be a challenging transition, but a great one once you get there. In one of my toughest cases where the bottle had to be taken at night, the baby was getting up to 50 oz of formula! He would wake up every 1-2 hours asking for the bottle. Once parents finally took it out of the routine at night, their child stopped using the bottle completely, and started to eat 3 times as many solids during the day.
It’s a great achievement to graduate from the bottle — Let me help you get there!