Your newborns need a bottle (or breast) feeding every two hours during the day and night. That is why it is not possible to set a newborn on any schedule. They live on instinct at this point until they are about six weeks of age. Then you can begin to create a plan or a routine for your baby. However, at this age, even though they can technically start to sleep through the night, they still need a bottle for nighttime. Even yet, once in a while, they may require a bottle for the middle of the night. That is even after sleeping for four hours straight.
When you have a newborn or a young baby, the idea of weaning them off of the bottle at night sounds so far away. However, there is a time to begin to break them of the habit. Giving them the bottle would become a habit and not something required for their growth and development.
At What Age Should Infants Stop With The Bottle At Night?
You would want the infant to stop drinking milk with the bottle at a year old in an ideal world. However, some babies, even after a year-old, feel comfortable with using the bottle. At that age, you can begin introducing the sippy cup to them. However, before the baby turns a year old, you will want to cut down the number of bottle feedings. They do not need as many bottle feedings since infants over six-months-old can start eating solids.
The older the baby, the more solids they can eat, which means they require fewer calories from breastmilk or formula. Therefore, infants at that point can go without one less bottle feeding. The fact of the matter is that infants at nine-months-old do not require that bottle at bedtime. Infants at that age can eat enough solids to replace the calories of at least one serving of breastmilk or formula. That is the age when a nighttime bottle is optional.
However, the challenge is that infants at nine-months-old want the bottle before bed for comfort reasons. That bedtime bottle is part of the routine that began since day one- literally. The biggest challenge for parents when the baby reaches that age is to stop giving them the bottle at night. How can they possibly do that considering their infant will not take to that very well?
How To Wean The Baby Off Of The Bottle At Night
There are several ways to wean your baby off of the bottle at night. You can cut them off cold turkey, and that can mean your baby will be agitated and not sleep as a result. Cutting your infant cold turkey from the bottle can also cause you and your baby a lot of stress. Therefore, that is not the recommended method for weaning your infant off of the bottle.
The other method is to wean your baby off of the bottle slowly. There is an easy way to do that. Do not warm up the bottle before giving it to your baby, as you will want to provide them with the bottle cold from the fridge. Your baby will not care for the cold milk and will push the bottle away. The thing you want to happen is that your baby has that reaction each night you offer them a cold bottle. Eventually, your baby won’t like the nightly bottle. That is an excellent method for removing the nighttime feeding.
You can also replace milk with water in the bottle at night if you don’t want to give your infant a cold drink before bed. Your baby won’t like the bottle too much if there is only water in it. That will get the baby to stop expecting a bottle each night after some time.
However, when you decide to start wearing your baby from the bottle, you want to make sure your baby has had enough to eat during the day. In addition to that, at night, create a new routine. Give your infant a relaxing bath with a bedtime story without a bottle. That will make your baby tired to the point that they won’t make too much of a fuss when they notice that the bottle you give them has either cold milk or water.
If you decide to keep giving your baby the bottle each night, there will be consequences to face later on. Let’s talk more about that.
What Happens If You Decide To Keep Giving Your Baby The Bottle At Night?
Firstly, the one significant issue that you will face if you continue giving your baby the nightly bottle is that they will depend on it. The older your baby is, the harder it will be for them to break bad habits. That means your toddler will want to have a bottle each night. The transition to a sippy cup will be more challenging once your baby is old enough to drink out of one.
Secondly, the other challenge to expect if you keep giving your baby the bottle each night is to promote obesity. Your older infant does not require the calories at night at a certain point like they did when they were newborns or young babies. You do not want to hear the pediatrician tell you at your baby’s one-year checkup that your infant has a weight problem.
Thirdly, a nightly bottle will cause tooth erosion and decay. Therefore, your infant will end up with dental problems. You do not want to deal with cavities, especially at such a young age. As you can see, there are more cons than pros when it comes to giving your baby the bottle each night after a certain point.
Your newborn or young infant requires several feedings during the day and the night. However, as your baby grows, they will be able to take in more ounces at once and will require fewer feedings throughout the day. And eventually, you can eliminate the nighttime feeding. When should you do it? When your infant is around nine-months-old, that is the ideal time you can wean your baby off the nighttime bottle.
If you keep giving your baby the nighttime bottle, that will only increase your infant’s chances of developing bad habits later. A nighttime bottle can also cause health problems for your baby. Therefore, there is a time to stop giving your baby that bottle, and you must begin to wean them off of it.