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when to stop the bedtime bottle

how to stop the bedtime bottle & create peaceful sleep schedules

 

did you know that feeding your baby to sleep is one of the fastest and most effective ways? it also solves a number of problems such as:

 

  1. Fear that your child will wake up hungry from their nap or in the night
  2. Meet their needs of wanting to suck and soothe themselves
  3. Feels natural and loving for us parents
  4. Is much more enjoyable for our tiny little humans than crying themselves to sleep
  5. Helps us multi task – we know that they will feel loved from all the cuddles, full & asleep all in one go! Who wouldn’t want that if they were a baby too?

So, what’s the issue? Why is it by far the NUMBER ONE reason we get calls for HELP from tired parents across North America looking for a better solution?

    • The baby is no longer staying asleep for their naps or at night … unless the parent puts the bottle in the crib or let the baby nurse and suckle in their bed all night long. Can you blame them? I tried that too. Even when you “know better” you don’t always “do better.” We have all seen the pictures of baby teeth when we are pregnant and the warnings about the damage it can cause … but no one warns about the damaging effects that sleep deprivation can cause on our mental health, our physical health and our relationships … do they?

 

    • Perhaps you are like me and my team of past clients of tear sensitive moms: You have tried removing the bottle or the breast from the sleep equation and your child was not HAPPY about it,so you brought it back just to save your sanity. “I like to hear my baby cry” said NO parent EVER.

 

    • You tried gently weaning your baby off the breast and/or bottle via various “expert” advice such as reducing the time and/or the amount and eventually offering water. It seemed logical when you read it but now your baby is up all night and refusing to nap because they are hungry or need different soothing techniques such as rocking, a white noise machine, lullabies, devices such as the SNOO (™) a swing, and/or a pacifier also known as a soother or dummy.

 

  • You thought you had it fixed via a recent sleep training experience, but then your baby went through a “sleep regression” and you needed to help them. You were promised that they would go back to sleeping all.night.long.but instead they are up.all.night.long.

How can you resolve this problem FAST and for GOOD? I mean, in a just a few nights and for a LIFETIME. Yes, that fast and that good. 

If you are truly ready:

    • To shut down Dr.Google, Social Media and stop searching for random, controversial and conflicting information

 

    • To use a simple to follow step by step GENTLE plan customized to you and your family with comprehensive follow-up support based on your needs

 

    • A NO CRY IT OUT proven approach that is loving.simple.practical and FUN

 

    • To do the work and wanting the very best advice tailored to your baby but rooted in the science of sleep and evidence based research

 

    • To experience a quick fix, the majority of our clients are sleeping through the night* in the first week and a large percentage on the very first night!

 

    • LONG TERM, regression proof outcomes. Yes, you read that correctly. We create SuperSleepers ™ whereby your baby will sleep anywhere and for anybody in spite of teething, sickness,learning something new such as standing, growth spurts, travel and more.

When to STOP the Bedtime Feeding Session

So your little one has been an awesome little sleeping machine since they were an infant and you have filled their cute little belly with love and nourishment before they go to bed each night. Sometime around their first birthday, most parents are ready to say good-bye to the bedtime bottle or the bedtime breastfeeding session for various reasons.

If you are breastfeeding your little one, there is absolutely no rush on my part. I am proud that many breastfeeding mamas say that I have saved their nursing relationship through improved sleep. Many have decided to do extended breastfeeding into toddler hood and beyond.

For my bottle-fed babies, I do recommend that you say good bye to the bedtime bottle around the first birthday, and definitely by the time your little one is two years old.

Why stop the Bedtime Bottle around the first birthday? Why are most parents ready?

Sleep is all about SKILL at this point – the ability to go from Point A) Awake to Point B) Asleep. You can read more interesting facts about sleep here:

FAQ. The vast majority of parents are confident that their children are getting adequate calories by day and no longer require this bedtime bottle top before bed. I know you are going to fill up your little one with lots of love and healthy nourishment all day long, so they are going to sleep well by night. This applies to 99.9% of babies this age. If you feel your child falls into the less than 1% category, please Get In Touch for personalized support and assistance.

Most babies have teeth at this age and will be getting more. This saves you from having to brush their teeth again mid-way through your bedtime ritual, or from having your baby go into the crib with milk deposits left in their mouth.
Some babies are no longer interested in the bedtime bottle after their bath, so why force it? This was the case with both of my children. Starting at about 10 months, they were no longer interested in the top up after bath. I kept it in for about a month longer, as I loved breast feeding, but they weaned themselves off that particular session and we continued nursing by day.

Most parents are moving their children to sippy cups or regular cups around this age, so it is a natural progression to eliminate the bedtime bottle. For breast feeding families, many are also introducing cups with water for their little ones to drink by day.

Keeping the bedtime BOTTLE beyond this age, can CAUSE problems! In my decade of full time consulting, I have not encountered problems with bedtime breastfeeding sessions beyond the first birthday, but I HAVE seen problems with bedtime bottles. In one extreme case, a bouncing 18 month old boy was drinking 18oz of formula every night before bed. He did not need the bottle in order to fall asleep – he was a great independent SuperSleeperᵀᴹ as his parents had hired me when he was about 6 months old. That was not the problem. The issue was his dinner. He refused to eat his solid foods knowing that he would get his “preferred meal” at bedtime. They had the same issues during the day, so I helped them say good bye to his bottles in a loving and fun way.

Marital relationships are important too! When you hire Pam Nease Sleep, you know your little one is going to be able to sleep anywhere and for anybody. For my exclusively breastfeeding mamas, they know they will be able to go out on a date at 7ish after the bedtime nursing session and leave their little one with a trusted caregiver to complete the routine. When their little ones are around a year old, some parents would like to start their date earlier! Even with all this flexibility, starting a date at 5pm instead of 7pm is still very appealing for exclusively breast feeding families. Can you blame them? Here’s to extended nursing, great sleepers and strong, happy and healthy family relationships!
Okay, Pam… so how do we do it?

 

10 months and up – Breast Feeding Infants

We are not suggesting weaning from this pre-bedtime breastfeeding session unless you as parents WANT to or you think your baby is ready. Many of our breastfeeding clients continue nursing before the bedtime routine right into toddlerhood and beyond.

As scary as it will be for you wonderful parents, it will be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to your sweet little muffins. If you are breastfeeding , then on your fateful night of saying good bye to the top up feed, have DAD (or another trusted caregiver) do the bedtime routine 100% on their own for TWO evenings in a row.

If you would like to keep in an evening nursing session, move it to BEFORE bath rather than afterwards, follow step 1 as above.
TRUST your little one! There is a real science to the bedtime ritual. This is one of the many reasons the top up was after bath and before books – to help prepare you for this eventuality – to help make it seamless. Your child will be focused on the wonderful loving and bonding activity of reading books and singing songs that you have been doing for weeks or months prior. You can read more about bedtime routines here: Make Bedtime Fun!, The Power Of Song, Bedtime Story.

Do NOT replace this feeding with a sippy cup of milk, warm cup of milk, a bottle, or even worse – a bedtime SNACK. Please TRUST me on this as it will cause MORE problems down the road. I will be writing another blog post on this very subject and will include a link when it is up. Please trust your precious little one – sleep is all about skill at this age. A little bit of food or milk just before bed will not help them sleep peacefully for 10 to 12 hours. I promise you that as long as you have been following my advice since you hired Pam Nease Sleep, your little one will not wake up hungry in the night.

Here is to extended nursing if you choose to do so. Continue to enjoy all that great sleep and all that great nursing as long as you like!

 

10 to 18 months – Bottle Fed Infants

As scary as it will be for you wonderful parents, it will be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to your sweet little muffins. If you are bottle feeding – on your fateful night of saying good bye to the bedtime bottle, have the “opposite parent” do the bedtime routine 100% on their own for TWO nights in a row. If you have been alternating consistently since your little one has learned to sleep, then toss a coin on who does the first bedtime without the bottle.

If you would like to keep in a bottle in the evening, move it to BEFORE bath rather than afterwards, follow step 1 as above.

TRUST your little one! There is a real science to the bedtime ritual. This is one of the many reasons the top up was after bath and before books – to help prepare you for this eventuality – to help make it seamless. Your child will be focused on the wonderful loving and bonding activity of reading books and singing songs that you have been doing for weeks or months prior. You can read more about bedtime routines here: Make Bedtime Fun!, The Power Of Song, Bedtime Story.

Do NOT replace with a sippy cup of milk, warm cup of milk, a bottle, or even worse – a bedtime SNACK. Please TRUST me on this as it will cause MORE problems down the road. I will be writing another blog post on this very subject and will include a link when it is up. Please trust your precious little one – sleep is all about skill at this age. A little bit of food or milk just before bed will not help them sleep peacefully for 10 to 12 hours. I promise you that as long as you have been following my advice since you hired Pam Nease Sleep, your little one will not wake up hungry in the night.

Continue to use bottles by day and move to cups exclusively when your family is ready to do so. I am not your feeding expert – I am your sleep expert, but I would recommend that you say good bye to daytime bottles by the time your child is two years old at the very latest.

 

18 months and up – Bottle Fed Toddlers

Asking a toddler to say good bye to their bedtime bottle is WAY more challenging than when they are a baby. We all have habits and the longer we have them, the harder it is to change them. To be successful with this age group – as scary as it is – you have to go cold turkey. Meaning no more bottles AT ALL – during the day AND at bedtime.

For these toddlers, I suggest using a super FUN motivational strategy called The BOTTLE FAIRY.

As always, this is not medical advice. If you are concerned with your child’s feeding, please consult your IBCLC Lactation Consultant, Pediatrician, Family Doctor, or preferred healthcare professional.