Written by: Miss Janine and Miss Sam
As children grow, their needs grow along with them - be it physically, cognitively or even emotionally! And there are different signs or cues that support these changes. This blog particularly talks about weaning away from the bottle and focusing on introducing more nutrients to sustain their diet. At DMW, we ensure children's health and wellbeing are prioritised through our freshly-made meals provided daily and through the support we give to families who have children with particular dietary / medical requirements.
Weaning from the bottle may sound daunting and challenging, however with consistency and positive reinforcement: it is possible!
A continued use of the bottle could develop a variety of issues such as tooth decay, iron deficiency and a lack of dietary supplement. Milk is a filling substance and drinking too much may encourage children to eat less or not enough than what is expected of their nutritional needs.
Another thing to note when bottles are continuously being used as children progress in age is that prolonged use of a teat may cause delays in children's speech. This is due to the deformities in the teeth, jawline and mouth caused by the pressure and motion of sucking.
Children as early as 6 months of age can begin transitioning out of the bottle using feeding or trainer cups with simple spouts! As they continue to grow around the age of 12 months, children can also practice using open or free-flow cups to develop their drinking skills as it requires them to sip rather than suck out of a teat or a straw; this is also better for their dental health as it decreases the risk of tooth decay.
When are they Ready to Wean from the Bottle?
A way to tell that your baby is ready to wean from the bottle is when they show more interest to solids than the milk that they usually drink. As more solids are introduced to the child's appetite and their nutritional needs continue to develop, breastmilk / formula cannot suffice their needs alone anymore.
Another way to identify is when they have an established routine for meal times. At DMW, our routines cater to the needs of the children and provide opportunities for them to transition from one part of the day to the other fluidly! As children continue their routines, their bodies develop a rhythm that adapts to the constant pattern they experience everyday.
Tips for Families
Begin early! Children can be introduced a feeding cup as early as 6 months or when they have started the process of eating solids. You can also keep it empty and get the child used to holding it before introducing water or milk into the cup.
Wean your child from the bottle during a relatively stress-free time to ensure that the process is smooth and not distressing for both you and your baby.
Consistency is key! It's a tedious yet rewarding process when your child begins to independently use a cup (or sippy cup!) Believe in your child's capability to learn and to grow.
At DMW, we continually strive to support families through their child's growth and holistic development! If you would like to talk to any of our passionate educators, feel free to do so! We are here for you throughout your journey with us at Discover My World!
Caring for Children Manual - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal/Publications/caring-for-children-manual.pdf