I get asked a lot how to break baby of the nightly bottle and while there is not one way to do it, here is what you need to understand. Your baby should be 6 months or old and weight 15 lbs or more to drop the last night feeding. Additionally, when you put your baby in bed at night, it’s fine to include the bottle in their routine. You could start with a bath, and then pajamas and then offer a bottle and a story or two.
What you really want to avoid is giving the bottle until baby falls asleep or putting baby in the crib with the bottle. You do not want your baby to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth because if they wake up in the middle of the night they think they need that bottle again to sleep. If you come with a bottle and feed to sleep or put it into the crib, they suck themselves back to sleep with the bottle.
Not only is that hard for healthy sleep strategies, it is also very damaging to their teeth that are coming in. So, maybe start the bottle a little earlier in your routine. You can have a bath, then a bottle, brush teeth and then back for stories, but you should be putting baby into the crib awake and without a bottle. If you are a client of mine and follow the guidelines of your customized sleep plan, I provide you some strategies to implement while we are working together to get your baby back on track, learning a new strategy for getting themselves to sleep.
You don’t have to leave the room; you can stay with your baby if you like, but they really do need to start connecting the steps that are involved in putting themselves to sleep independently so that they are not relying on that bottle! Otherwise, baby will most likely keep waking for that bottle. It could go on well into the second year of life so you really want to make sure you break this habit now, and then when baby wakes in the night requesting a bottle, you’ll have to just decline that request.