At 15 months, a baby/toddler will no longer want their bottle at night, right? Wrong! It is very common for a young toddler to wake up for feeding at night. If you are fine with it, it is fine. If not, there are ways to stop this behavior and wean your little toddler off the night feeding.
The baby in this Q&A wants her bottle day and night. Mom wants to both stop the night feedings and stop using the bottle completely and is trying to introduce a sippy cup instead. Not working!
Let’s break down the problem into two different ones – i) introducing a cup instead of the bottle, and ii) weaning your toddler from night feedings.
My 15-month-old baby wants to have milk from a feeding bottle both day and night. I have tried a sippy cup and other options, but she refuses them all. I think she is now too old for a baby bottle, and I also want her to stop feeding at night.
Please provide tips on how to make her forget the baby bottle and start using a cup instead.
1. Weaning From Bottle To Sippy Cup For Toddler
At the age of around 15 months, many babies have quite a strong view of what they want, and they show it! While this is a natural development, knowing how to deal with it can be hard.
So, if your baby really likes her bottle, she won’t give it up without a big fight unless you do it gradually. There are no particular health or developmental reasons to take away the bottle yet so that you know. It is, however, more important to reduce the night feeding since it can lead to cavities.
The bottle in itself, e.g., filled with water, is not a threat to her teeth in any way. (But that doesn’t mean you are wrong to wean the bottle; of course, that is your decision.)
To wean a baby from the bottle and to a sippy cup, it will certainly be easier to start by introducing the sippy cup during the daytime.
Here are a few tricks you can use to make your baby want to try the cup:
- Make sure the sippy cup is easy to drink from. Try it yourself to see how hard it is to get the liquid out. Some no-spill cups are quite hopeless, even for adults to drink from.
- Consider giving her a regular mug (not a no-spill one), but still a baby cup with handles and a lid. They are often easier to drink from.
- Let her use the cup as a toy to get used to it. You can play a game together, where she can feed her dolls, her loveys and even you (but not herself unless she wants to).
- Put some tasty liquid in the cup that she really can’t resist, like breast milk, formula, or juice.
- Use the cup yourself without offering it to her to make her curious.
- Meet other babies that use sippy cups so that she can watch others using them.
- If you have a fight over her current cup, buy a new one that doesn’t look the same and have a fresh start with all the tips above.
- If your baby really hates a sippy cup anyway, consider a cup without a lid. She will spill more, but since it is easier to drink from, she might accept it easier. One of my kids was like that. She hated the sippy cup but gladly drank from a regular cup AND learned quite quickly how to drink from it.
Once she has started to accept the cup, take away the bottle at daytime first. When that works, try offering the cup at night too. It is possible that your baby will stop feeding at night if she is not offered her beloved bottle.
2. Weaning a Toddler from Night Feedings
It is actually very possible that once your toddler does not use a bottle anymore, she will stop waking up for night feeds. At her age, a baby does not need to feed at night, and chances are that she is waking up due to habits and that the bottle is a wonderful way to fall back to sleep.
Here are some things to try:
If she still drinks from a bottle when you want to get started with weaning the night feedings, start reducing the amount of formula you provide. You can also water it down a bit or even just offer water.
Before doing this, consider if you should offer her more food in the evening to reduce the risk of her actually waking up hungry at night.
If she does not use the bottle during the daytime anymore, you can simply offer it at night, too. Give her the sippy cup with water or watered don formula when she wakes up. If she refuses a sippy cup, you can help her drink a few sips from her regular cup.
You can, of course, also just go cold turkey and simply stop the night feedings. Your toddler will most likely put up a fight, but if you are lucky, she will adapt quickly over a few nights. However, I personally prefer a gradual transition since it is nicer and calmer for everyone, and you avoid the risk of disrupting her sleep schedule by spending parts of the night dealing with power struggles and tantrums rather than sleeping.
You can learn more ways to stop bottle feeding or nursing a baby at night here. (The article is mostly about breastfeeding at night, but many tips can also be used for bottle feeding.)
Who else has a toddler that wants their bottle at night? Share your situation or your tips by leaving a comment below.
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Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing are based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians who assist in reviewing and writing articles.