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Children's Health

18-Month-Old Still Won’t Give up the Bottle

08/24/2010

Question:

While I introduced sippy cups when my son was 7 months old, and he knows how to use them, even at age 18 months, he still will only take a few sips from the cup. I bought several diff. kinds of sippy and straw cups as well as use normal cups with him at meals, but he only takes a sip and throws it, no matter what`s in it. I tried the gradual weaning approach, elim. one bottle, then another over days/weeks, in hopes he`d drink more from the cups at those times, but to no avail -- i would have to make up for his lack of drinking earlier in the day with an extra-full bottle late in the day. I even drink from a sippy cup to try to interest him. I tried cold turkey with him at both 16 months old and 17 months old, but he didn`t drink; he tantrumed and would rather suck on a wet washcloth in the bath than drink milk or water from his cups. Both times i tried cold turkey he went about 36 hours without drinking but a few sips (he pushed away/threw the diff. cups and cried)-- of course i caved in and gave him a bottle worried about his hydration. I also tried putting a slit in the bottle nipple and giving him a choice of that bottle or sippy cup, and he drank from neither. It can`t be just a comfort thing because i offer the sippy cup during the `rocking/reading` time on my lap so he`s getting the same cuddles. What should i do with this boy who will not drink from cups even though he is obviously very thirsty? Should i wait more months and hope peer pressure helps, or should i take my cold turkey past the 48 or 60 hour mark to show the bottle is truly over? Complicating this further is that he is often constipated, so hydration is a big issue. PS- our pediatrician wasn`t very helpful on this topic.

Answer:

As your child can drink from a cup, the most likely reason he is refusing it over the bottle is habit and you sound as though you have a child with a strong will. As your child is now much older than is recommended for weaning, expect more resistance. Remember that your child also gets fluids from the foods we eat like cereal, soups, and even pasta. If your child perceives you are conflicted about the process, they will be also. Parents need to put up a strong united front at these times. I am including some websites for you to review.

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/bottle-feeding-9/bottle-to-cup

http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/eating/toddler-bottle.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/newborn_care/no_bottles.html


There is no "magic bullet". This is going to be a task that takes time and patience.
 

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Response by:

Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati