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Toddler Tips - Weaning off the bottle at night

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Got a toddler still waking in the night for a bottle? Read on for some tips on how to stop it.

Start at bedtime

Teaching your child that they don’t need a bottle to settle requires you to decide this is what is going to happen and be fully committed to doing so, starting with their bedtime routine.

  • Give milk in a beaker instead of a bottle and let them enjoy it while having their bedtime stories.

  • Ensure your child is not falling asleep while drinking their milk. This means they are not reliant on milk to settle and will be able to self settle in the night should they wake.

  • After they have finished their milk and stories, go and brush their teeth not only will this break the routine of milk to sleep but help minimise tooth decay.

Weaning off during the night

Cold turkey

Probably the simplest way to get rid of the bottles is by not offering them. This will of course result in lots of protest because that’s what toddlers like to do. There are many other resettling techniques such as offering a muzzie or soft toy as a comforter that they can reach for instead.

This might be worth a try to begin with, giving it a couple of nights to see if it works. Some toddlers get on with it straight away, others have protested so much that the next technique will be much more effective.

Watering down the milk

A much calmer way and very effective. This means over the course of a few nights, gradually dilute the milk with water.

Here’s an idea of how it might work:

  • Night 1 - 25% water and 75% milk

  • Night 2 - 50% water and 50% milk

  • Night 3 - 75% water and 25% milk

  • Night 4 - 100% water

Make sure you remain consistent and calm. Within a few nights your toddler will get the hint that milk is not an option and they will be able to resettle by themselves.

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