Getting a Little One Off a Bottle



Recently Heather emailed and asked about getting her 21-month-old off of a bottle at night.  Her email was detailed and so I thought I'd just give the gist and then share my (and my dentist husband's) answer.

Hi Heather-

Oh wow!  You have quite a problem on your hands- not your daughter, of course, but the whole reliance on the bottle to go to sleep.  Right up front I will tell you that you simply have to stop giving her anything in her bottle but water.  Juice, gatorade (really high sugar content!), and milk pool in those little mouths, and my husband sees lots of little ones with teeth rotted down to the gumline because they are allowed sugary drinks in bottles after a year or so.

But coupled with that I will tell you that my husband and many other pediatric dentists will urge you to get rid of the bottle and/or pacifier past a year of age.  In fact, our three who took pacifiers all had them taken away at a year.  They cried for two days at the most, but then they were done with it.  If you keep on with the bottle and/or pacifier, some orthodontist is going to love you :)

So you really have to make a choice, and I know it's not easy.  But you either decide to give in and give her the bottle or you let her cry it out for as long as it takes.  If you choose the first scenario, you will have an easier life now, but you will have big dental and orthodontic bills later, as well as compromised dental health.  Kinda like using a credit card- buy now, pay later. If you choose to let her cry it out, you'll be miserable for a few days, maybe a week, but you'll be in far better shape long term.

Let me know how it goes.  If you lived closer I'd tell you to call me when the screaming gets to you so I could encourage and distract you!