When should you wean from a bottle?

My son is 14 months old and was born one month premature. He drinks from a cup during the day except at naptime and bedtime. He is just starting to eat table food, but mostly baby food. He still wakes at least three times a night and will drink a bottle and then go back to sleep. When would be a good age to wean from bottle?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

The time is right for weaning from a bottle. The fact that your baby is drinking from a cup already should make the job easier for you. If he is well established on solid foods, baby or table foods, than you can be sure that he is getting enough nutrition from his meals and cups of milk.

The bottles in the middle of the night should be eliminated as soon as possible for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, nighttime bottles can do major damage to his teeth. Babies who are put to sleep with bottles often suffer from decayed teeth because of the residual milk that is in their mouth, giving a wonderful supply of food to the decay producing bacteria that also reside in the mouth.

Your son is old enough that he does not need the extra milk in the night, and at this point, it is most likely serving a habit and not a nutritional need. The extra milk may fill him up, dulling his appetite for that bowl of iron rich morning cereal, or other important foods that also need to be included in his diet.

Your son may take to eliminating the bottles easily, being happy to get a full night's sleep. Or you may find the task less than pleasant, and may want to try weaning by filling the bottles with less and less, and/or diluting the contents with water, until they become so unappealing that he doesn't bother with them.

Good luck and thank you for writing.

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