When my kids were newborns neither one really wanted a pacifier. Aaron took it for a little while, Jill never used it. I cannot tell you how glad I was that I registered for all of those pacifiers (insert and eye roll here). Aaron just stopped using the pacifier one day, so I never had to wean him off of it. When it came to switching from bottles to sippy cups, that was a different story. Jill took to the sippy cup almost immediately and when it was time to give up the bottle she had zero problem with it. Aaron, on the other hand, hated the sippy cup. It got to the point that we only offered him the cup and he finally started drinking it. So I told you all of this for a reason, a while back I had a reader ask me for advice on getting her daughter to stop taking a bottle. I gave some advice, but these were all things that she had tried, so I was pretty well tapped out. Thankfully, you all are an amazing community and came to the rescue with your advice and tips.
- “I honestly took my twins off them. Cold turkey. The day they turned one I said bye bye bottles and I started using the sippie cups that were soft tipped (somewhat like bottles) then when they got too big for those (they started to chew and break the nipple area) I switched to the somewhat harder ones (Playtex I believe) but not the completely hard ones. Now we are on regular sippie cups and sometimes “real” cups. I say go Cold Turkey and get rid of them. Let them play with sippie cups for about a month before to start getting used to them.” ~Machelle A.
- “We are doing this right now. We took one bottle away so we were down to three a day then after three days of that we took another away. Right now we are down to the last bottle. They get one before bedtime and that one stops in two days. Just make sure they are comfortable with the sippy cups first or you will reach for a bottle just so they are getting their needed fluids.” ~Melissa N.
- ” My husband and I spent 2 or 3 days drinking from sippies – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pretty soon our girls were begging us to have them too – it was hilarious and one of those parenting moments we will never forget.” ~Helen B.
- “Cold turkey. I had been giving a straw cup instead of a sippy cup for him to practice from 9 months. The day he turned 1 I put all the bottles up and I plan on doing that for the twins. ” ~Krystle B.
- “As you increase solids, you can start decreasing the bottles. We started adding sippy cups of water when they were eating solids at every meal. So by ten or eleven months, they were used to cups. We dropped the noonday bottle first, probably around 11 months. Then the supper bottle a few days later. The breakfast bottle went after their first bday, then the nighttime bottle a few days later, replaced by a sippy cup of whole milk during the bedtime routine. We stopped the sippy cup at bedtime after a few months, when they started spitting out their milk. They never missed it. Best sippy cup for us is the Dr. Browns because it is the hardest to shake milk out of.” ~Susan D.
- “Our pediatrician told us at 12 months to take them off the bottle. She told us the put all the good stuff (milk, juice, etc) in the sippy cups and water in the bottle. It was tough the first week, but we stood our ground and stuck with that plan. It worked and they have been fully on sippy cups since then!” ~Jessica B.
I also talked to Gigi Meinecke, DMD, FAGD, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. She said that when parents allow children to continue using a pacifier into toddler years this action becomes habit instead of a natural instinct and can be harmful to a child’s oral health. Prolonged pacifier use, as well as baby bottle use and even sippy cups can alter the natural development of teeth and the jaw. Some examples of problems that may result from prolonged use are: misalignment of teeth, tongue thrust and certain speech disorders.
When parents allow children to continue using a pacifier into toddler years this action becomes habit instead of a natural instinct and can be harmful to a child’s oral health. Prolonged pacifier use, as well as baby bottle use and even sippy cups can alter the natural development of teeth and the jaw. Some examples of problems that may result from prolonged use are: misalignment of teeth, tongue thrust and certain speech disorders.
So what is the appropriate age to take away a pacifier? Dr. Meinecke said, “I personally stopped my son’s pacifier use at age 2, which I’d consider to be the optimum time. Waiting longer simply reinforces the habit, making it even harder to break (for both the parent and child!).”
Dr. Meinecke also recommended going cold turkey when you try to wean your children off of a bottle or pacifier. You have about 2 or 3 rough nights and then it’s over. Other ways are to swap the binky for a toy with the child, some parents advocate dipping the pacifier in black coffee which tastes bad to the child. Another option is to cut off the tip of the pacifier which decreases its satisfaction.
What about you? How did you wean your children off of their bottle and/or pacifier?
As always, if you have any parenting questions or are looking to have a specific topic discussed on Multiples and More, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org