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Weaning your child from the bottle

When Should Babies Be Weaned?

Both bottle and breast-fed babies should start the weaning process by 12 months.

Bottle-fed babies over 12 months of age may start to look at their bottles as security objects. They can become strongly attached to their bottles, and they may expect to have one in their hands all hours of the day and night. The older the baby, the harder it will be to separate him or her from their bottle. This can lead to many babies not receiving adequate nourishment, as their hunger is satisfied with milk or juice, instead of food. This also leads to tooth decay in infants who drink a bottle during the night.

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Breast-fed babies tend to wean themselves, as they prefer to be more agile and mobile. Their interest in breast feeding tends to wane around one year of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast feeding be continued for a full twelve months.

How to Introduce a Cup

Babies who are able to feed themselves finger foods, are generally ready for a cup. Cups should be purchased for a baby that have screw-on tops, handles and spouts. Many babies will look at their new cup as a toy. They may bang the toy, throw it to the floor, or pour out the liquid.

Do not expect infants to consume a large amount of liquid from their cups when they are first introduced to them. The introduction of a cup should be done gradually during the weaning process. This will ensure that the baby is receiving an adequate amount of liquids while he or she is learning to maneuver a cup. The cup can be filled with formula, breast milk, juice or water. Towards the end of the weaning process, the bottle can be filled with water to lessen the baby’s interest in it.

It will take a while before the infant learns what the cup is for, and how to use it properly. They will also have to become familiar with the particular cup they are offered and learn how to maneuver it. Caregivers can demonstrate for the baby how to drink from a sippy cup. Praise and encouragement should be given to the infant as he or she shows interest in drinking from a cup.

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