Giving up the bottle
Learning to drink from a cup takes time.
Start by substituting a cup for the bottle
at one meal. Once your child has adjusted to that, do the same at another meal.
Your child probably holds the bottle
herself. Don’t let her walk around with it.
This can turn into a habit. Sucking from a bottle off and on all day can lead to many problems. It can result in tooth
decay. Or the milk might spoil, making your child sick. She might
depend too much on milk or juice and not get enough other foods.
Your child may still want to be rocked with a bottle at bedtime. Try substituting
water for milk. Then just offer a cup of water before rocking.
Some tips for giving up the baby bottle
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle. If your child must suck for
comfort, offer her a pacifier. Offer a “lovey,” such as a favorite stuffed
toy or a blanket.
- Offer only milk, fruit juice or water in a cup to drink. Other drinks like
tea, punch and soda contain caffeine and sugar. These are not good for
- Give your child plenty of hugs and kisses. By giving up the bottle, she
is giving up a warm, loving ritual.
Drinking cow’s milk
After age one, children no longer need formula. They can drink cow’s milk. But
make sure it’s whole milk, not low-fat or skim milk. Children need milk fat for
growth and energy. Serve whole milk until your child is at least two years old.
If you are worried that your child has a milk allergy, talk to your doctor
about other options to provide the calcium and other nutrients she needs.
Expect a mess
At this age, children love to experiment. They will dip their fingers into apple
juice and smear pudding on their tray. At the same time, they are learning to
feed themselves. Milk will get spilled, and food will fall on the floor.
Accept your child’s efforts. Gently confine activities to the tray of the high
chair. Drape a dishtowel under the child’s chin, or use a bib. Put newspaper
or an old shower curtain on the floor. This will make cleanup easier.
Other tips for mealtime
- Wash your child’s hands before eating. In crawling and moving
around, she picks up germs everywhere. Use soap and warm water and
rub her hands together briskly.
- Use dishes that will lessen frustration. Plastic dishes won’t break.
Shallow bowls and cups with broad bases are less likely to spill. Plates
with upturned rims will help keep food in place.
- Serve small portions, just a spoonful or two. Your child wants to show
her independence. Let her ask for more when she wants more.
- Watch for signs of fullness. If your child is playing with her food and
no longer eating it, it’s time to take it away.
- Wash your child’s hands and face after eating. Change a messy shirt, if
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