Weaning Your Toddler off the Bottle

Weaning Your Toddler off the Bottle

Print Weaning your Toddler off the Bottle

Feeding a baby is about closeness and comfort, as well as nutrition, whether this is by the breast or bottle.

Before one year of age

  • For the first 12 months, babies need breast milk or infant formula.
  • Start solid food around 6 months.
  • You can start to introduce a cup from as early as 6 months. Drinking from a cup is better for teeth and speech development.

From one year of age

Meals and SnacksInfant FormulaBreastfeeding
Offer regular meals and snacks based on family foods.*You can stop infant formula.
Slowly swap over to milk.
Nutrition is now coming from food.
Breastfeeding can continue for as long as mum and child wish.
Every family situation is different.
     Toddler dinner of pasta and meat sauce, steamed vegetables carrot, broccoli and carrot on the side, yogurt and fruit, cup of water                    can of infant formula no brand              older baby toddler breastfeeding 

WaterMilk DrinksDairy Foods
Make a habit of offering a cup of water at every meal and snack500 ml is the maximum number of milk drinks per day.  
Too much milk can fill children up.
Dairy (or alternatives) can be coming from food sources like cheese and yoghurt
     Toddler drinking water from a cup in a knitted jumper                   Young girl drinking milk from a cup              cheese slices

When you stop giving your child a bottle is a very personal choice – there is no way that is right for everyone. It is safe to start moving on from a bottle from one year of age. You can ask your child health nurse for advice on how to do this.

* This means your child doesn’t need to continue with infant formula once they turn one. If your child does not tolerate cows milk choose an alternative that has around the same amount of fat, protein and calcium as cow’s milk.

Plan your approach

Set a DateBed time routineOne on one comfort

Plan when to start weaning your toddler off the bottle. Set a goal to stop by a certain age.

Start to make the bed time routine special  without the bottle.

Build into your day ways to provide one on one comfort and attention.
This may be reading a book together or special cuddle time.

    Calendar with a dates circled                   Toddler in bed with a soft toy               toddler being read to  

Moving onReduce milk feedsRole model

A new comforter or special toy may help the transition

Slowly reduce bottle milk feed opportunities.
Gradually reduce the volume in the bottles or swap some bottles for water.
Move on to a cup.

Let them see you drink from a cup

         Two soft teddy bears         Baby bottles 1 large 1 small filled with milk               glass being filled with water from a tap

Top tips which may help

  • Experiment with a few different cups – toddlers often enjoy the novelty of a new cup.
  • Start with small amounts in a cup – expect spillage so be ready for some mess.
  • Take time– it is a change for both you and your child

Note: If you are breastfeeding, keep going for as long as both you and your baby wish. If you are expressing breast milk to bottle feed you can swap this over to a cup.

Ask for the help you need

Talk to your child health nurse for more ideas and support.