Baby Bottles: When to Wean

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning a child from the bottle at 15 months.  That doesn’t seem too unreasonable considering most babies are ready to eat solid foods at 4 to 6 months and most doctors recommend transitioning from a bottle to a cup at 12 months.

In fact, the AAP states that kids at 12 month don’t require nighttime feeding at all.  But, need and want are two separate things.  A lot of kids use their bottles (and the contents) for comfort.  That’s why, when weaning a baby from a bottle, it’s the before bedtime one that is most difficult for them to relinquish.  They want the comfort of the bottle before sleep.  And, because so many parents don’t want to deal with a crying or cranky kid before bedtime, they continue allowing the bottle and formula (or milk) well after the kid should have given it up.

Complacency however can lead to serious health problem astooth decay and obesity are two side effects of the sugars in milk (or any kind of sugar given in excess).

Of Particular Concern to Low Income Families

Richard Kahn, a nutritionist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who works with low income families in the Bronx, says babies are capable of holding and using a cup by 6 months.  He also says the 8 or 9 bottles of milk or formula per day that a lot of low income families allow their kids is a major cause of anemia.  Too much casein (a protein in milk) blocks iron absorption and causes anemia which, in turn, affects brain development

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