Northampton Area Pediatrics, LLP
193 Locust Street 
Northampton, MA 01060
413-584-1714 (fax)

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My daughter is almost 15 months old. She can drink from a sippy cup and out of a regular cup with help. We weaned from nursing at 13 months and at a year started switching from a bottle to cup, getting it down to one bottle at night during her bedtime routine. When should we drop this last bottle? How should we do it? Thanks.

Since your daughter has made all of these transitions smoothly, I would go ahead and drop it now.  The first reason to do this is dental.  If there is milk in the bottle, she is going to sleep with the milky residue on her teeth and may develop decay. You could put water in the bottles instead, but it makes more sense to just put them away.  At your daughter’s age, she doesn’t need to have milk at bedtime in order to sleep through the night, but if bedtime is more than two hours after dinner, you might want to give her a snack and milk in a cup before you start the bedtime routine.  Include brushing her teeth in the routine and then give her a sippy cup with water to hold while she has her story.  As with any change in routine, it may take a few nights for her to adapt, but you’ll be surprised how quickly she’ll forget about the bottle.  This is the second reason to drop the bottle now.  The older your daughter gets the harder it will be for her to adjust when you do decide to take the bottle away.

If your daughter is very dependent on the bottle for settling, reduce the amount of milk in the bottle over a ten day period until it is empty, and then throw it away.  She may have a few fussy nights after that, but she will learn to settle without the bottle within a week. 

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