Magazine article Working Mother

Bye-Bye, Bottle!

Magazine article Working Mother

Bye-Bye, Bottle!

Article excerpt

It's time to put your 1-year-old to bed. After his nightly fix of Goodnight Moon, he's ready for his bottle. At the end of a busy day, this routine is a comfort to both of you. But many doctors recommend weaning between 12 and 15 months. While your baby may not be ready to part with his bottle, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to break the habit.

"Transitioning to a cup is a very important stage in your baby's health and development," says Jane Anderson, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Letting go of the bottle will encourage your little one to do more on his own because he'll be freer to explore, play and practice sounding out words. Also, by his first birthday, solid food should be the primary source of nutrition. Sticking to the bottle may cause him to drink too much milk, which lacks essential nutrients and may spoil his appetite. Extended use of bottles-especially falling asleep with one-has been linked to tooth decay, ear infections and other problems.

Introduce your child to the drinking cup when he's about 9 months old. Dr. Anderson even suggests bringing a sippy cup into the bath as a toy, giving your child the opportunity to get comfortable handling it. Gradually replace one bottle feeding with a sippy cup every couple of days or once a week. Dropping daytime feedings-the morning and midday bottles-is an easy way to start. Both you and your baby's caregivers need to be strong and consistent. Once the bottle is replaced for a specific feeding, don't cave in if he cries for it. …

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