The power of community – the bottle weaning debate

When it comes to raising kids, I’ve been quick to learn that one size definitely does not fit all.

Our two girls in particular seem to be like chalk and cheese. The tried and tested techniques that worked like a dream with Curly-locks are blowing up in our faces with our latest kid on the block, Smiley.

As we approach each new milestone, nine times out of 10 we are having to change our tack.

Let’s take bottle weaning for example.

When Curly-locks was a toddler, we progressively and successfully dropped her bottle feeds one by one with not even a whimper from her. The timing must have been right and she was ready.

When we tried to do the exact same thing for our second daughter, 20-month-old Smiley, things did not go as smoothly.

We dropped the day bottles without a hitch, but when it came to dropping her morning feed we were met with tears and screaming and snot and flailing arms and legs.

Does this pic look familiar?

weaning

I posted it on my Facebook page recently when I was in the throes of bottle weaning craziness.

That day I had halved Smiley’s usual bottle intake in the hope that she would eat breakfast rather than fill up on milk, refuse breakfast, and then ask for cheese 15 minutes later.

After her reduced size bottle, I sat her down at her table and placed a bowl of Weet Bix in front of her. Well, you would have thought that I had asked her to eat dog poo. She looked at me with great disgust and swiped the bowl off the table and onto the floor where she joined it to unleash her fury.

This behaviour is out of the ordinary for her, but seemingly on the rise since I’ve reduced her bottles. I won’t quickly forget her running away from the table screaming the other night when I asked her to eat her dinner.

When Smiley threw herself on the floor, I was at a loss for what to do. I was tempted to throw myself on the floor screaming too, but when Curly-locks made the comment, ‘Someone’s a bit cwanky (cranky) today,’ I couldn’t help but laugh … and post her picture on Facebook. Bad mother of the year award right here, folks πŸ˜‰

While I have learned a lot as mother of two, there are inevitably days when I’m muddling through and feel like I’m on a very steep learning curve.

When this happens I hit my parenting books. Just between you and me, I think I hold the world record for reading Save Our Sleep more times than anyone in the known universe. I also turn to parenting sites and Google whenever Dave’s not watching – I may or may not have been banned from diagnosing myself and the kids via the internet.

When I am still at a loss, I turn to my friends and this wonderful community here on Mummy, Wife, Me. And what a community we have!

When I posted that image of Smiley with the comment, ‘Bottle weaning is going really well with Smiley don’t you think?!’ the response was huge.

Many people suggested I let Smiley lead the way with bottle weaning. Until I’d read this comment from Clare, I had never even thought about letting my child lead me.

Don’t get rid. She will give it up when ready. My youngest dropped hers only 6 months ago. Swapped the bottle for a big girl cup with a straw. She sometimes still has a little bit of milk before bed. Went through the battle with my eldest but thought why? It won’t hurt to have milk before bed and who cares if it is still in a bottle. Not worth the tears – Clare.

After reading Clare’s comment, the stubborn Taurean in me thought yes it will be worth the tears. She’s not eating any breakfast because she fills up on her bottle and refuses to eat dinner because she knows the bottle is coming.

And then Zanni suggested that milk is actually full of goodness. Well, there’s a thought that I hadn’t had before.

Elka is a bit like that too sometimes, but in the end milk has a lot of goodness and fluid, so if she just has milk and fruit sometimes I think she is doing okay. I feel like Clare – not worth the tears, when (organic) milk is actually pretty good for them as long as they’re not lactose intolerant. Good luck anyway! – Zanni.

As I began to come around to Clare and Zanni’s way of thinking the following comment from Clairey cemented it for me. Her comment a virtual repeat of what Dave has continually said to me.

I am a sucker and would not give it up. Bubbas love sucking on bottles (or boobs) dummies and thumbs, I know the health nurse is probably shaking her head at me, but I don’t care. There were days I thought my two wouldn’t give up their ‘things’ but they do – Clairey.

Then I received comments from those who have been there before and can sympathise. This comment from Claire made me want to give her a virtual hug.

We had similar tantrums when we dropped the morning bottle but we switched to one of those take & toss sippy cups which her big sister Ellen uses. We had to take to hiding her bottles from sight but it worked after a week. Our problem is that our 2 year old still wakes at night for a bottle with water in it but won’t take a ‘water bottle’ as she wants to suck her normal bottle! We’ve tried to break the habit but gave in to her midnight screaming tantrums! (When she vomited from screaming, we waved the white flag – of course we then used it to clean up the vomit at 3am! I just live in hope that she’ll drop it one day herself! – Claire

And then I was given hope from some very creative mummies with this idea from Beck sounding simply gorgeous.

Jade was addicted to her bottle. We ended up saying there was a bottle fairy that only comes for your bottle when she knew you were big enough to have a big girl cup. Then 2 days before the fairy came we left little sprinkles of glitter around the house to show she was near. Then the night before we wrapped the bottles in the garden (with Jade) and the next morning, my goodness she had come and left nice new and sparkly big girl cups and a little fairy toy. We then would give her milk in a cup at dinner time and told her she could have it after her dinner/breakfast was finished and rewarded her with a stamp or stickers in her blank book. Really seemed to help her eat her dinner knowing she still had milk to come afterwards. Jade still has her sticker book which she loves and we all have great memories of the bottle fairy – Beck

Then there were comments from those who have been there before. With words of be strong and go with your gut, I felt empowered to soldier on and I hope you did too.

As for Smiley and her bottle, we have decided to continue with the weaning. Rather than halving her bottle intake both morning and night, we are starting with just the morning bottle. I have reduced it by 50 mls and leave her breakfast on her table for her to eat when she’s ready.

The first couple of days she would stand at the fridge saying, ‘Mook, mook, open, open,’ but now she is coming around to the idea.

Listening to our child, working with her and going with our gut has worked wonders.

Thank you to the wonderful women above for their advice and everyone else who commented on that image. I hope some of you also found it helpful.

If there are any topics you would like me to write about on Mummy, Wife, Me, please let me know. I am open to suggestion.

Where do you go for advice about your children? Have you had to change tack with your kids and had good results?

Linking today with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.

58 comments on The power of community – the bottle weaning debate

  1. Erin@TheMumsGroup
    June 24, 2014 at 6:20 am (3 years ago)

    Oh Renee! So true!! Eddie is totally different to Gus and that’s despite sticking to the same techniques/routines! Very frustrating! You’re doing an awesome job and have a great network of support in your readers too which is so lovely! X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you, Erin. And thank you so much for your support xx

      Reply
  2. Lydia C. Lee
    June 24, 2014 at 6:55 am (3 years ago)

    It’s good when you get the help you need (to hear) from your community. It takes a village and all that…

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm (3 years ago)

      It sure does, Lydia!

      Reply
  3. Bec @ The Plumbette
    June 24, 2014 at 6:57 am (3 years ago)

    Well I just go with the flow and found that Magdalene and Esther decided when to stop their milk feeds. Esther stopped after 2 years and Magdalene just before she turned 1. All the comments are great and don’t you love a community that shares what has worked for them which in turn can help you? Who knows what my third child will do or be like! But if I have issues I know what post to turn to. πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great day lovely. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:57 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes they are interesting little creatures aren’t they?! Each with their own individual personalities. Hope you had a great day too x

      Reply
  4. Vicki @ a Knocked Up and Abroad
    June 24, 2014 at 7:02 am (3 years ago)

    Weaning can be such a challenge. I usually allow the baby to lead with weaning but with that said I’ve been waiting and waiting for Baby Vick to improve at nights and at 12 months old he still gets up as frequently as a newborn (every 3 hours) to breastfeed. After such a period of time I’m flat out exhausted. He just refuses any other way. It’s not sustainable for me anymore so my husband will be on duty and we have to go cold Turkey with the night feeds. It’s going to be really tough, but he will be rewarded with a more sane mother. My boys never took the bottle so I’m not much of one for advice there. Maybe you could get a new breakfast food or find a way to jazz it up so it captures her interest ? Good luck x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:53 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes, maybe I need the lure of a new bowl or spoon or something πŸ™‚ Wow, that’s hard going with the feeding. You must be absolutely exhausted. I hope the cold turkey goes well. Please keep me up to date xx

      Reply
  5. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    June 24, 2014 at 7:15 am (3 years ago)

    You have such a wonderful community Renee, what wonderful advice! It’s amazing the different personalities our children all have. I have found with both of the boys they want to have their milk as soon as they wake up (whether it was breast/bottle or straw cup) and then i don’t offer breakfast until at least 1/2 an hour (ideally an hour) later. For us this works, they still have their milk (which as the others have said, really is good for them) and they still sit down to a ‘proper’ breakfast as well.

    PS. I couldn’t help but smile at your tantrum pic, it’s comforting to know this happens to other people as well πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol. Yes, we definitely have a few here. I live in hope that Smiley will one day sit down for a proper breakfast. Actually, she did use to do this. I just don’t know what happened. They change all the time don’t they?!

      Reply
  6. Bec | Mumma Tells
    June 24, 2014 at 7:58 am (3 years ago)

    The Mumma Village online is a wonderful thing. What I like about it best is that it’s one that I can open and close the doors when I need to. Good on you for opening yours and finding the best way forward for you both. X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Bec. Yes, that’s very true about being able to open and close the doors. I hadn’t thought of that before x

      Reply
  7. Denise
    June 24, 2014 at 9:49 am (3 years ago)

    I’m reading this with great interest Renee. It’s all ahead of me. My little fella loves his bottle in the morning and at night, though thankfully he still eats his breakfast and his dinner! I think I have a hungry one on my hands. I don’t know what will happen when I try and drop the bottle. Some brilliant suggestions here! x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm (3 years ago)

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he sails through it, Denise! xx

      Reply
  8. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side of Parenting
    June 24, 2014 at 10:06 am (3 years ago)

    It is sooo hard, isn’t it? I tried to convince my 22 month old to have a sippy cup instead of a bottle during the day – I wasn’t even taking the milk away! – and he wouldn’t have a bar of it. After a week I just gave up and gave him bottles again. He’ll give it up when he’s ready. He eats plenty of other healthy food during the day and I’ve transferred him to low fat milk, so it’s really just liquid anyway. My eldest never took a bottle at all, he wasn’t interested – when straight from breastfeeding to a sippy cup. Each to their own!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm (3 years ago)

      Exactly, Bec. I tried to swap to a sippy cup too and gave up after not long. They know what they want, don’t they?!

      Reply
  9. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    June 24, 2014 at 11:18 am (3 years ago)

    We were lead by our girls most of the time. Although I do remember being extremely sad (and bewildered) when our youngest decided to give up day sleeps by the age of 2!!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh yes, that is not cool at all!!

      Reply
  10. Danielle L
    June 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm (3 years ago)

    WIth baby number two I think I’m sold on ‘going with your gut and just listening to them’. It seems to be working for us.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:46 pm (3 years ago)

      It definitely is good advice, Danielle. The old mother’s instinct πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Jody at Six Little Hearts
    June 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Renee, don’t stress – let baby decide. I always let my babies develop at their own pace. If they don’t want 3 meals a day, don’t give it. If they want milk in a bottle and not a sippy – so what! Don’t let MCH nurses or experts tell you otherwise. You baby will let you know. There are no 18 year olds sipping milk from baby bottles and skipping meals because of it.
    Toddlers are naturally less hungry in their second year and are learning their independence. She will reject the bottle one day all of a sudden – give her the cup then. If she only wants one big meal a day – fine, just make it a healthy one.
    Celeste grazes all day and doesn’t have proper meals as such. She refuse a high chair and would prefer to share all my meals with me – so I have one bowl with two forks. I have never done that with the other 5 but that’s what she likes and I like so we go with it.
    Love the tanty pic but glad I wasn’t there to hear it! xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm (3 years ago)

      It’s great to hear from such experienced mums as yourself, Jody. I honestly don’t know how you do it with six of them!! xx

      Reply
  12. ann
    June 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm (3 years ago)

    Number 3 is proving to be just as different as his brothers!! They have all loved their bottles!! Whatever works is my motto!!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes, I think we all need to compromise for our sanity’s sake at least!!

      Reply
  13. bea
    June 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm (3 years ago)

    Go you! Same story here but we opted to slowly water the milk down as it tasted a little less delicious he opted to stop drinking as much. Solved. Every now and again if I think he’s hungry after eating well, he gets full strength.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Okay that’s another person watering the milk down. I’d never heard of that. Maybe I should try it. Thanks!!

      Reply
  14. Michelle@myslowlivingadventure
    June 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm (3 years ago)

    They do say that milk is more addictive than crack! My son still manages to convince his grandmother he needs a bottle to sleep and he’s almost 5!! They do it when they are ready. I did a bit of milk diluting to get meals in properly, that helped for sure.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol, Michelle. By milk diluting do you mean with water? Sounds like a good idea.

      Reply
  15. EssentiallyJess
    June 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Renee I love that you have kept with it. I think once you start something, unless you’ve got a serious reason not to, you should keep going. Part of being a parent is teaching your kids that you are the boss, and sometimes they just have to accept your decisions. Which may not go down very well, but if you don’t start now, it’s a world of pain later.
    You’re doing a fantastic job. Just keep doing it xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm (3 years ago)

      Aww thanks Jess!!! Yes, I think consistency is important and I don’t want to let her ‘win’ either. I think they already think I’m enough of a push over:) xx

      Reply
  16. Toni
    June 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm (3 years ago)

    I managed to get bub to take a sippy cup at 7 months just for water so Im hoping when the time comes to swap her from bottles to cups it wont be such a hard transition. I plan on giving her the milk in her sippy cup at first before cutting it down. I’m glad I don’t have to cross that bridge yet. She only has three bottles a day already so Im planning on dropping the lunch one first and then morning and leaving the night one til last. I already give her breakfast before her bottle and dinner before her night bottle (we switched to meals first at about 9 months) so Im hoping that may also help but who knows.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm (3 years ago)

      Hmmm interesting. Perhaps I should try the breakfast before bottle tomorrow morning. I don’t want to upset the apple cart too much though. I like the idea though.

      Reply
  17. Emma Fahy Davis
    June 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm (3 years ago)

    What a lovely community you have here xx

    I have nothing useful to offer in terms of advice – the gremlins had bottles until they were 3, and dino baby is definitely calling the shots with the breastfeeding right now…

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:39 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol. That little dino baby of yours is seriously cute!

      Reply
  18. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    June 24, 2014 at 7:15 pm (3 years ago)

    So glad that things are working out for you as you want them to – and yes isn’t the community a fab thing. I plan to take away my son’s bottle before we start toilet training home in the warmer months. Think ours will just disappear! #meanmum xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm (3 years ago)

      Might be time to get the garbage man involved πŸ™‚ xx

      Reply
  19. Chantel
    June 24, 2014 at 9:21 pm (3 years ago)

    I have a four year old who sounds like your number 1 – he dropped the bottle when I suggested it without a whimper. I am now pregnant and just know things aren’t going to be that easy this time round – kids are such unique little beings πŸ™ Good luck!!!!!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Chantel!! You too πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Kylie Purtell
    June 24, 2014 at 11:08 pm (3 years ago)

    I am taking the “she’ll do it when she is ready” approach to toilet “training” at the moment. Some days she spends the whole day in undies and the only accidents she has is the number 2s which she just does not want to do on the potty, other days she only wants to wear a nappy. I figure one day she’ll just get to the point where she only wants to use the toilet and that will be it. She knows exactly what to do and when and how to do it, it’s just a matter of her getting to the point where she is ready to do it. And I am more than happy to go with it because we argue about enough stuff to add in arguing about using a toilet too!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 25, 2014 at 7:29 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol. They can’t be determined creatures can’t they?! Yes, we haven’t started the toilet training yet here, but I think I’ll be following the same approach as you.

      Reply
  21. Carla from myyellowheart
    June 24, 2014 at 11:19 pm (3 years ago)

    We love the take and toss cups and save our sleep routine has always worked easily for us too!
    It’s so funny how children are all so different, what worked with our first definitely hasn’t with our second! It’s all trial and error isn’t it xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 25, 2014 at 7:29 pm (3 years ago)

      It sure is, Carla. Trial and error and a sometimes steep learning curve πŸ™‚ xx

      Reply
  22. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    June 25, 2014 at 6:32 am (3 years ago)

    Yep – there is no set model. You’ve just gotta do what feels right for each child. Trust in your mummy instinct.
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm (3 years ago)

      Good advice thanks, Leanne πŸ™‚

      Reply
  23. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    June 25, 2014 at 7:17 am (3 years ago)

    How good is it to get help and advice from friends (most of the time anyway!!!). Hehe I love how she looked at the weet-bix as though it was dog poo!!! xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm (3 years ago)

      I don’t know what she expected, but something more exciting than Weet Bix it seems πŸ™‚ xx

      Reply
  24. Maxabella
    June 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm (3 years ago)

    You’ve gotta love this community! For what it’s worth, I let my kids decide when the bottle would go. They fave them to the baby fairies when they were ready. Arabella was about 2, Lottie was 4 and Max never had a bottle to wean from. Things have a way of just working out, don’t they!? x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes, they do. If only I could relax enough to let them πŸ˜‰ Another one with the fairies. I might have to try that trick x

      Reply
  25. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    June 25, 2014 at 5:19 pm (3 years ago)

    I had absolutely no idea what I was doing Renee, and basically went with the flow with Bell. I had so much (useless) information thrown at me, it all got a bit confusing after a while.
    They’re all so different, aren’t they? I think you guys are doing what’s best for you, your instincts usually work the best in the long run. But, it can be so hard when you’re in the thick of it all! xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes, I think that’s the thing, Lisa. Sometimes it pays to just take a step back and breathe xx

      Reply
  26. Tegan
    June 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Paul is 54 and still has a milk before bed..although he has at least migrated to cup instead of a sippy cup πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm (3 years ago)

      Lol, Tegan!!! Love it!

      Reply
  27. SarahD @SnippetsandSpirits
    June 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow I think support from personal experience is the best. So glad you decided to follow your gut.

    Reply
  28. ClaireyHewitt
    July 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm (3 years ago)

    Just catching up still…

    I found the blogging Mums such great helpers when my kids were little, the beauty of kids growing up is that you work out what worked well for you and can share it, but of course, every household is different and what works for one, wont always work for another.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s so true, Clairey. Thanks for your support with this x

      Reply
  29. Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus)
    July 6, 2014 at 10:47 am (3 years ago)

    I go to friends with kids for advice on parenting – and then end up doing it the way I want anyway πŸ™‚ xo
    I hope it goes well lovely. Parenting is a minefield!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm (3 years ago)

      It sure is. You made me laugh. I usually do it the way I want too πŸ™‚ x

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *