Avoid the sleep trap
Nap and nighttime bottles are usually part of a comforting routine, which is why they’re the last—and most difficult—to go. Revamp your “night-night” ritual by offering a sippy cup of milk with a little snack. Then proceed to the rest of your bedtime routine: bath, books, songs, teeth-cleaning, cuddling with a favorite toy or whatever relaxing activities work with your family lifestyle. “Once the baby is weaned from everything but the night bottle, you might even try ‘I don’t know where the bottle is,’” suggests Dowling. Just make sure all bottles have been hidden and are out of sight!
If your child has been falling asleep with a bottle in his mouth, now is the time to end this tooth-destroying habit. Do not replace the bottle with a sippy cup in bed, even if the cup is only filled with water. Although this won’t lead to cavities, it could cause orthodontic problems later, and one goal of weaning is to eliminate your child’s need for a drink to get back to sleep. “Getting into bed with a sippy cup of water will soon become a sleep issue,” warns Roy. (See “Bedside Manners” on page tk to discover which bedtime routines are most successful—and which aren’t.)