Lately we have had a lot of questions around night time bottles for older babies, and when to drop them and how to drop them.
This is a common issue, once which arises due to a number of reasons.
- Never dropping the bottle once solids are started.
- Introducing a bottle during an illness.
- Introducing a bottle during a sleep regression which is movement and development related not hunger related.
Making the decision to drop the bottle is a personal one. Many parents are happy to keep a bottle over night until 12-18 months. If you have kept the bottle until this age and now are ready to drop this bottle you can do this 1 of 2 ways.
- Cold Turkey
- Gradual Reduction
There are merits to both methods. Cold turkey dropping bottles after 9 months is fairly simple, we know most babies are eating well at this age and are just not hungry over night, so they will not be happy we have dropped the bottles, but they won’t be starving and they will go back to sleep. There could be more crying with this method on night one, but less crying over the week as the process is so fast.
Slowly reducing the bottles down can be a good option if parents are worried their baby is hungry and they feel they need time to increase day time calories. 20-30ml a night is a good way to do this. This can reduce the initial crying as your baby still gets bottles for a few nights, but they might not be happy you are reducing their bottle and therefore might cry for several more nights than the cold turkey option.
Most medical professionals agree after 6 months a formula fed baby doesn’t need bottles over night. But at the end of the day it comes down to what works for your family.
If you want to chat to a sleep consultant about your night time bottle situation, click on this link.