When Indy turned one in December, I wanted to make moves on getting him off a bottle for his morning and evening milk. He’s used sippy cups and beakers for water since we started weaning, but he would always refuse his milk if I gave it to him in anything other than a bottle. We all know how health visitors want babies off their bottles by 12 months, and I really felt that pressure, so once December came I was ready for battle and he’s now been completely bottle-free since April!
Start when you transition to cows milk
Once he reached 12 months, we made the transition from formula to cows milk, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start trying a beaker for his morning milk. Even though he’s had cows milk with food since 6 months, it was a completely different taste as a drink to formula, so I thought combining this, without a bottle was the perfect time.
Try the morning feed first
I felt the morning feed would be easier to crack first, as his bottle gave him so much comfort in the evening. In the morning he’s always raring to go, so isn’t as reliant on his milk – he will take it to go and play and could drink it over the course of an hour, but at night time, he wolfs it down and will then go straight to sleep.
Get a new beaker or cup
This is something that massively helped – I bought Indy a cup that is exclusively for his milk. He has 2 sippy cups and 2 Munchkin 360 cups for his water but would not drink milk from either so I bought a Haberman Cow beaker for him to try. It’s a different style of beaker and it’s cow print so also looks very different to his others, and he’s really taken to it so this has pretty much replaced his bottle. A little tip if you do decide to get it – Indy has to suck really hard to get the milk out, so I just pierced the spout with a knife to make it more free flow.
Those first few mornings were a struggle – however enthusiastic you try to be about a new cow beaker, babies really know what they want! I had to succumb to the bottle a couple of times, but kept offering the cow cup and after about a week, he was using it without an issue.
Move onto the evening bottle once fully settled into the morning routine
This was purely by choice as I felt it would unsettle him less at night. I left it a couple of months before we tried getting him off his night bottle – I could have probably done it a bit sooner, but I knew he was definitely ready at this point.
Make other changes to the bedtime routine
My idea for this was to make it less obvious that he wasn’t having a bottle as his whole routine was different… and it actually worked! We usually started bedtime wind down around 6.15pm – starting with a story, then bathtime and then straight to bed with his bottle. I moved things around by giving him his cow beaker with milk at 6.15pm while we’re still downstairs playing; we move up to the bath at 6.40pm, then story time while he finishes the last of his milk, and then move him into his cot. The first time I tried this was on a bit of a whim, as my husband was out for the evening, but it worked a treat and we’ve done it every night since. But most importantly, Indy still sleeps straight through!
Since we’ve ditched the bottle, I’ve bought a couple of extra beakers as I couldn’t always rely on the cow beaker if we were going away or going out, and he now takes milk from any cup, so it’s just about breaking that association for them as Indy still gets great comfort from his milk at bedtime.
So these are my main tips and how it worked for us – I’d love to hear how you managed to crack the bottle too! xxx