At Mila’s 12-month doctor’s appointment we were told that now is the time to get Mila off the bottle. By 15 months, she should no longer have the bottle at all.
Not only was I flabbergasted by this bomb that was dropped on my reality, (add to that the fact that I’m processing the fact that my baby is now a toddler), I was also told that I wasn’t giving Mila enough calcium. I thought that eventually I would have to ween her off the bottle, so I started to drop the number of ounces I was giving her. Big mistake. I was giving her 9 ounces a day when she should have been getting 16 to 24 ounces. Whoops.
So, I’m determined to correct my error and progress my baby into toddler-hood – kicking and screaming* if need be. I gave Mila a sippy cup full of milk the first few days and she denied it. A big ol’ fat FAIL. She wouldn’t take milk out of anything but a bottle. I tried a different kind of cup, separated her cups, even – juice in sippy cups, milk in cups with straws, but still she wouldn’t bite.
I upped the amount of milk I gave Mila and kept trying to get her to drink out of anything but a bottle. Then one day I cheated. I added a little chocolate powder to her milk. Holy smokes, you’d think it was golden milk! She gobbled it all up. Ok, win one mom.
Great, now I had Mila down to a sippy cup of milk in the morning and a bottle of milk at night – totaling 16 ounces, (she was also getting yogurt for breakfast and cheese snacks to add to her calcium intake). I admit, I wasn’t too anxious to get her off her nighttime bottle. It was part of our routine and I was scared of the consequences: Would she go to sleep? Would it take me an hour to get her down?
So I passed on this and at Mila’s 15 month check up, I confessed to the doctor only that she was still on her bedtime bottle. He urged Mila (uh, me) to get off the bottle completely. So starts the next phase of the dreaded bottle…
Day one: Dan attempted a sippy cup of milk at bedtime. Mila took one sip and tossed it aside. She went down to sleep easily, probably because she was so tired.
Day two: I gave Mila her final milk of the day just before dinnertime. Probably not the best idea since she didn’t eat much during dinner. I gave her a bath and when Dan went to put her to bed, I suggested reading her a book to make up for those few minutes she would have been drinking a bottle. My intention was to calm her into sleep. It seemed to have worked, (knock on wood). It wasn’t quick. It took Dan almost a half hour between reading the book and getting her to finally relax enough to drift off.
What I’ve learned is that everything leading up to this point is what really matters. Getting Mila used to falling asleep by herself really helps when you don’t have a bottle to fill her and drift her off to sleep.
Hopefully this all gets easier. The real challenge will be when Mila’s not with us and we can’t see if she’s getting a bottle of milk or juice.
*Mila didn’t kick and scream. I did. I may still be kicking.