So I've posted before asking for tips on bottle weaning for my one year old. Well today my husband announced that since we were out of formula that it would be our first day without offering bottles of formula to our son. I offered him milk or water in sippy cups at his meals and snacks, but at his naps I gave him a bottle with water in it to try to help ease the transition of going down to sleep without a bottle of formula. His first nap was a disaster - he was very upset about not having a regular bottle and he scream/cried for about an hour and then I just got him up because I knew he wasn't going to put himself to sleep. His second nap he cried for a bit too, but eventually went to sleep. When I put him to bed, I rocked him but instead of offering formula I offered another bottle of water and he drank it because I think bottles are more of a soothing mechanism than anything else. But then tonight at around eleven he woke up screaming and crying inconsolably. My husband went in to try to calm him down and he offered him a bottle with water in it again. My son drank some, but then I guess he reached a point where he realized that wasn't what he wanted. My husband and I were at a loss for what to do so my husband put him back in his crib and my son proceeded to scream/cry for at least another thirty minutes before eventually falling asleep. My husband is lucky because somehow he can sleep through the crying, but I can't. It makes me feel terrible to listen to it, but both my husband and I are thinking that it's best to take away formula cold turkey rather than be inconsistent and continue to keep up bad habits at night. I'm not really asking for opinions about letting a child cry it out. But I am concerned that maybe he could still be hungry in the middle of the night and I would feel horrible knowing he was crying because I wasn't feeding him enough. That said, how would I know without reinforcing old habits of going in and giving him formula bottles whenever he wakes up? Ugh. Also, did you experience anything similar when you first took your child's night bottles away?
He's currently back asleep but my mom guilt is raging for letting him cry and for not giving him what I know he really wants. But I also know he really needs to learn better nighttime habits. This is one of those times where I wish parenting came with an easy instruction manual to follow.
grapefruit / 4361 posts
So sad and hard, especially when they can't communicate with words
When we switched from formula to milk, we kept amounts and method and timing all the same, we only wanted to deal with one change at a time. So, he had gotten four 5 oz bottles of formula at waking up, after 1st nap, after 2nd nap, and at bedtime.... So, we switched to four 5 oz bottles of milk. It was a seamless transition. Then we switched off bottles a couple weeks later. Then we decreased amounts and timing as he started dropping his first nap at 15 months.
As for night, he STTN almost always 12-19m, and if on the rare occasion he woke up, we always played it by ear depending on how much he had eaten the day before, what time of night it was, etc. he stopped STTN at 19m and we are in a bad habit of giving him milk for him to go back down.
hostess / wonderful grape / 20803 posts
When we went from formula to milk with our first son, we offered bottle of milk before naps and bed. Then we eventually went to straw cups, then nothing. Could you try that for awhile until he is used to the milk?
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
This is probably not what you want to read, but I always transitioned very slowly with my son. He didn't respond well to abrupt changes, no matter what they were. I let him have milk overnight if he wanted it, I still let him have it most nights before bed and he's almost 7 (in a glass, now, obviously). I am of the opinion that there is no rush, but I recognize I am very accommodating.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
When we transitioned we didn’t do WCM and sippy cup at the same time. We introduced milk in a bottle. Based on how other moms did it on HB I initially mixed formula and part milk and then did 100% of milk for a feeding and then 100% of formula for the next. Over about a week LO was drinking WCM out of a bottle. Then we transitioned at home from a bottle to a straw sippy cup in about the same time.
ETA: I did not think of transitioning to WCM as breaking a (bad) formula habit. I looked at it as another phase in LO’s development and nutrition journey and wanted to make a smooth transition. My LO was eating a good amount of solids by this time. We continued a bottle then sippy of milk during bedtime routine for another 3-4 months after he turned one.
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
I think thats a pretty hard age to get them to understand going cold turkey. It sounds like he's hungry.
I would agree with either using formula in a sippy cup and getting rid of the bottle OR offering milk in a bottle and cutting the formula.
Even then, whats the harm in going a few days at 50/50 mixture? And then a few more at a 75/25 ratio?
Is he eating more solid foods to make up for those lost calories?
pear / 1750 posts
I cut out formula pretty abruptly at 1 year because I was sick of buying and mixing it. He had had milk in a straw cup a few times, so I put away all the bottles and just gave him milk in the cup when he would normally get a bottle. He did cry for his bottle because he missed the soothing, but it was really only 1 day of that. He still took a paci so he used that to go to sleep. I'm sure there were some wake-ups so I tried to give him yogurt for dinner to pack some calories in.
Personally, I would stop putting water in the bottle and just offer a cup/sippy of milk. At least you'll know if he's really hungry or just upset about the bottle.
olive / 74 posts
@winniebee: that might be what we'll have to do. Naps haven't been as much of a problem, but it would definitely be helpful at night when I know it would probably soothe him right back to sleep. It's also a lot easier for my husband to say we're quitting formula cold turkey because he is not home all day and he also sleeps through everything at night unless I nudge him to wake up. He slept tough the majority of my son's crying last night while I payed awake and wondered what the right move would be.
olive / 74 posts
@macintosh: I'm pretty convinced that he really just is attached to the bottle. He refuses to drink anything out of the sippy cups I offer him, even if it is milk or formula or whatever. He just loves the bottles.
olive / 74 posts
@T.H.O.U.: i was mixing formula and cow's milk for a couple days but then I realized he doesn't even care much about the formula, because even when I offered him a bottle of 100% cow's milk he guzzled it right down. He's more concerned with what he's drinking out of than the actual liquid itself.
olive / 74 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: this is a really helpful perspective. I think I've felt quite a bit of pressure to view formula feeding/bottles as just a bad habit that he needs to get over so we can get on to the next stage.
olive / 74 posts
@looch: I think tonight if he wakes up and is crying again like last night I'll just go ahead and give him cow's milk.
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
@Msglass: I would feed, just to see what happens. Figuring things out is often process of elimination.
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
My eldest dropped bottles completely by 13 months and my youngest was off bottles at around 1 year. Basically, when we switched over to cow's milk, we dropped bottles.
We just gave them milk in straw cups - neither really understood or liked sippy cups.
For DS1, this meant he did not drink very much milk for a while. He didn't want milk at bedtime or any other time.
He drank a little milk at meals, but we pretty much just made sure he had a full fat yogurt for his afternoon snack and that he got enough water during play for hydration. I think he drank about 8oz for a few months and the ped said that was totally fine if he had cheese and yogurt. At around 16 months, he was drinking more like 12-16oz and ped said that was perfect.
DS2 was at about 16-20oz of milk when we transitioned to straw cups and he stuck to that same amount. Never really changed. He still drank a milk in a straw cup right before bed, then we'd brush teeth and he'd go right down. We dropped the bedtime milk around 14 months and instead gave him the last milk right after his bath (so an hour or so before bed). Then we dropped that completely so that last milk was at dinner and replaced it with a Contigo straw cup of water that I allow my boys to take to bed with them.
Our boys did not drink bottles overnight at this point, so not having milk at night wasn't an issue for us, but I don't see why you couldn't offer milk in a straw cup or sippy at bedtime for a while. Perhaps a transition sippy would work better - the kind that are on what looks/feels like a bottle. Nuk has one, MAM has one, and I know the Dr. Brown's Options line has a sippy top for their bottles.
clementine / 873 posts
So we had several failed attempts to bottle-wean. DS had a milk allergy, so he never had formula, just breastmilk and then the transition to soy milk.
Like others have said, our best transition was when we did things very slowly. DS was still drinking from a bottle at night until he was 18 months... Honestly, I just stopped pumping cold turkey, so the contents of the bottle seamlessly switched to soy milk. Then, we started cutting back on the amount of milk at a time. Then the bottles started 'breaking'. Ok, we lost them one by one, unintentional, but very effective. The last bottle we actually did break and he watched us throw it away. At least we knew he could drink from his sippy cups from our work during the day. But the nighttime routine was awful for a few days while he resisted the sippy and wanted the bottle. We just had to reiterate that the bottle was broken. Fortunately he was too young to demand we buy another one
cherry / 236 posts
I feel like I'm on the opposite end of the HB spectrum here-- with DD1 we switched cold turkey from formula to WCM, but didn't drop bottles until closer to two. Neither her pediatrician nor her dentist were concerned about her oral development, so I didn't worry about it. It was nice to navigate one change at a time.
grapefruit / 4455 posts
We switched cold turkey to WCM then just bottle weaned from there. Disclaimer my son didn't STTN til 18-20 months but he was off of bottles and night feeds not much after 12 months. Idk, if it were me I'd try milk (we even warmed it like his formula) and then worry about the bottles and stuff after. I was pretty laid back about it because my son was my second and at the time we thought he was our last! Good luck!
persimmon / 1093 posts
Why did you only put water in the bottle? Just substitute the formula for whole cow's milk.
cherry / 163 posts
I remember stressing about this transition with DS1 too! He was about 16 months old and I was just over washing bottles and bottle parts - I had also weaned from nursing and he was finally sleeping through the night by that point. So we hid all the bottles and only gave him milk in sippy cups. He didn’t seem to miss them after a few days as long as he didn’t see them.
In regards to being hungry at night, I was thinking with DS2 (5 months) that he must be hungry when he woke every 2 hours at night and nursed like crazy but a friend kindly suggested that perhaps it was just a habit - that a lot of babies don’t *need* to eat through the night. That he was eating bc his body was used to eating at that time but he didn’t *need* the calories.
Good luck! If it doesn’t seem right for your family now, perhaps try in a few weeks? But I’ve been of the mindet of making switches good turkey...just kind of like ripping off the bandaid.
olive / 74 posts
@alphagam84: Because my pediatrician recommended giving him milk with meals and snacks but to use water to put him down for naps and bed since he really only wants he comfort of the bottle. Also I've been nervous about causing tooth decay by continuing to give him milk right before he goes to sleep. Last night when he woke up though I just went ahead and gave him a few ounces of cow's milk. He still was very upset though so we think it could be teething. He only fell asleep again after some Tylenol and more milk. In learning that we'll just have to take this one step at a time. Cold turkey obviously isn't going to work right now.
persimmon / 1233 posts
We did a bottle of WCM before bed until LO was around 2. We'd do the bottle, then books, brush teeth and then bed to eliminate the whole tooth decay thing. Our ped was fine with it. You're reminding me that we should probably not give our 2-year-old WCM in the middle of the night without brushing teeth after though - it's only once or twice a week that he doesn't STTN but still...
persimmon / 1093 posts
@Msglass: You can still give milk in the bottle, just do it right before bed and then brush his teeth. We switched like this: 1/4 cow's milk, 3/4 formula for a week, then 50/50 for a week, then 3/4 milk, 1/4 formula for a week, then just milk. It worked really well. Then we started introducing a sippy cup. We would do a sippy cup during the day but a bottle for bedtime as we wanted her to drink a lot and get topped off to help her sleep better through the night. At some point we switched to the sippy cup but I can't remember how long (maybe 2-4 weeks?). We still do milk on it's own (first thing in AM, AM snack, PM snack, and before bed) as she loves milk and would otherwise just drink milk and not eat as much food. We just serve water with meals.
cantaloupe / 6669 posts
I agree with others who say to do one change at a time. I'm with you to be consistent when it comes to a change, but you have at least three changes here:
That's the order I'd drop them in. I'd switch formula for WCM in bottles and then once it seems like he's cool with that, I'd work on him going to sleep without a bottle - but I'd still do bottles when you give him milk. Once he's made that adjustment, then I'd go to a sippy cup. And be forewarned that if he's a bottle lover, you might have to try a bunch of cups.