My son will be two years old in January, and he is plenty old enough to be broken from his bottle habit. I picked a day (like any other) and just decided to do it. Here's what I learned, and why I'm glad it's over.
Had I nursed my son past 10 months, this might be a different story entirely. He was eager to wean when he did, pushing away the “milk” in favor of food, forks, and even a tiny little sippy cup. He was the youngest of four, and wanted to be big in every way. I embraced his independence as a sign of “easy” breaking of the bottle habit (when the time came, of course.)
Since Moses was a bit smallish, I decided to allow the bottle for naps, bedtime, and cuddletime. (And yes, I know it can rot their teeth if they sit with a mouthful of juice for any length of time. This guy sucked it down in less than a minute, and then rolled over and went to sleep.) We were so ready to get rid of the bottle around 18 months, especially when I found chewed up rubber nipples all over the house.
Then he got the flu. That icky, hovering, nasty, buggy sickness that left me ragged, all four kids whining, and my sense of priorities completely out of whack. Fearful that he would become dehydrated, I pushed the bottle at him a bit longer. I even invested in some new Born Free bottles to make the experience as pleasant as possible. He drank. He healed. I was happy.
Then he no longer needed the coddling. My husband said to me, “Isn't this a little old to be giving him bottles?” Of course he was right, but was he volunteering to stay up all night listening to him cry for his “baaw?”
It was a Tuesday, when I said, “Let's do it.” I grabbed up all the bottles from their hiding places (under the couch, in the couch, behind the couch) and washed up the sippies. Every time my son would ask for his “baaw” I would redirect him. “Let's play trucks!” or “Isn't the birdie pretty?” Most of the time it worked. The other times, I gave him a sippie at the table (I didn't want him walking all over the house with the cup as his best friend.)
Night times were the hardest. He would cry, “Mom?” Looking at me was torture. He didn't put up much of a fight, and sadly that made it more difficult. Teething came with a fury, leaving him screaming for his silicone crutch (I even contemplated giving him a pacifier, even though he never used one.) This was pathetic. I was having a harder time than he was.
Then it just stopped. He was laying down at night. Sometimes he would ask for a “baaw”, and I would give him a sippy with water. Other times he just rolled over and went to sleep. Both times, I would sit by his crib in the wooden rocker (a habit I started when the weaning began) and would listen to lullabies while he drifted off to sleep. I would grab my laptop for the final moments, using the quiet of the nursery to get a few articles edited or emails checked.
He is a happy boy. He rarely mentions the “baaw” now. The only setback we've had from the experience is a bit of constipation. (Getting him to drink is a bit difficult, because is such a busy boy.) We try to remember how many drinks he's had, and force a few more liquids at dinner. We're good to go.
I can't wait to start potty training.