Does this sound familiar to you: “My baby has a nightly bottle habit. She goes to bed with a bottle and wakes up for a bottle in the night. How do I break her of this bottling feeding to sleep habit?”
Solution to break the nightly bottle habit
When you put your baby in bed at night, there’s no problem to include the bottle in her routine. Start with a bath, followed by pajamas, then bottle and then a story or two.
How to avoid the bottle feeding to sleep habit
Avoid giving her the bottle until she falls asleep or putting her in her crib with the bottle, otherwise she will wake up in the middle of the night thinking she needs that bottle again to sleep. It is also very damaging to her teeth coming in. So, start the bottle a little earlier in your routine. Give her a bath, then her bottle, then brush her teeth and then read her a story. Make sure you put her into the crib awake and without a bottle. It is probably going to take her about two week to get her on track and learn a new strategy for getting herself to sleep.
Teach your baby how to fall asleep independently
You can stay in the room with her if you like, but she really needs to start learning the steps involved in putting herself to sleep independently, otherwise, she will keep waking for that bottle. It could go on well into the second year so you really want to make sure you break this habit now. When she wakes in the night requesting a bottle, you will have to decline the request.
You can stay with her and “ride it out”. She will learn a new way to sleep and she will start sleeping a solid night which will be better for her.
When should wean my baby from bottle feeding and transition to a sippy cup?
Another question I get asked is I recommend beginning that transition around 12 months of age. Here’s a great article by Mom Loves Best that walks through just how to do that.