1 year baby feeding bottle

Stopping the Bottle (for Parents)

Reviewed by: Madhu Desiraju, MD

Primary Care Pediatrics at Nemours Children's Health

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Many toddlers become attached to their bottles. Besides providing nourishment, bottles also mean comfort and security.

It's important for parents to start weaning babies from bottles around the end of the first year and start getting them comfortable drinking from cups. The longer parents wait to start the transition, the more attached kids become to their bottles and the harder it can be to break the bottle habit. Longer bottle use may lead to cavities or cause a child to drink more milk than they need.

Switching from bottle to cup can be challenging, but these tips can make the change easier for parents and kids.

How Should I Start the Switch?

Most doctors recommend introducing a cup around the time a baby is 6 months old. In the beginning, much of what you serve in a cup will end up on the floor or on your baby. But by 12 months of age, most babies have the coordination and hand skills needed to hold a cup and drink from it.

Age 1 is also when doctors recommend switching from formula to cow's milk. It can be a natural change to offer milk in a cup rather than a bottle.

If you're still breastfeeding, you can continue feeding your baby breast milk, but you may want to offer it in a cup.

Tips to Try

Instead of cutting out bottles all at once, try dropping them from the feeding schedule over time.

For example, if your baby usually drinks 3 bottles each day, begin by stopping the morning bottle. Instead of giving a bottle right away, bring your baby to the table and after the feeding has started, offer milk from a cup. You might encourage your baby by saying something like "You're getting so big now and can use a cup like mommy."

As you try to stop the morning bottle, keep offering the afternoon and evening bottles for about a week. That way, if your child asks for the bottle you can say that one is coming later.

The next week, stop another bottle feeding and provide milk in a cup instead. Try to do this when your baby is sitting at the table in a high chair.

Generally, the last bottle to stop should be the nighttime bottle. That bottle tends to be a part of the bedtime routine and is the one that most provides comfort to babies. Instead of the bottle, try offering a cup of milk with your child's dinner and continue with the rest of your nighttime tasks, like a bath, bedtime story, or teeth brushing.

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Spill-proof cups that have spouts designed just for babies ("sippy cups") can help ease the move from the bottle. Dentists recommend sippy cups with a hard spout or a straw, rather than ones with soft spouts.
  • When your child does use the cup, offer plenty of praise. If grandma is around, for example, you might say, "See, Emma is such a big girl she drinks milk in a cup!"
  • If you keep getting asked for a bottle, find out what your child really needs or wants and offer that instead. If your baby is thirsty or hungry, provide nourishment in a cup or on a plate. If it's comfort, offer hugs, and if your little one is bored, sit down and play!
  • As you wean your baby from the bottle, try mixing the milk in the bottle with water. For the first few days, fill half of it with water and half of it with milk. Then slowly add more water until the entire bottle is water. By that time, it's likely that your child will lose interest and be asking for the yummy milk that comes in a cup!
  • Get rid of the bottles or put them out of sight.

If you have problems or concerns about stopping the bottle, talk with your child's doctor.

Reviewed by: Madhu Desiraju, MD

Date reviewed: June 2022

How to Transition Your Baby from a Bottle to a Cup

Written by Barbara Brody

Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, or do a combo of the two, at some point you'll wonder: Is it time to move on to a cup?

If you just breastfeed, the easiest switch is to skip bottles entirely and go straight to cups around the 1-year mark, or whenever you decide to stop nursing. If your child happily sucks on bottles, their first birthday might still be a good choice. That's because you're already changing from formula to cow's milk around that time.

Missed that window? Waiting until your baby is a little older? No worries, but don’t wait too long. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests saying bye-bye to the bottle before your baby is 18 months old. "I'd say definitely before age 2, but the sooner the better," says Keith T. Ayoob, EdD. He’s an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y.

As a registered dietitian who works with kids, Ayoob snatches the bottle from kids as old as 5 -- and he says it isn't pretty. "You have to know your child, but in general, the longer you wait the harder it is."

Why the Bottle Needs to Go

A bottle gives food and comfort to many children, so letting your little one use it for as long as they like might seem harmless enough. But there are several reasons why it's smart to switch to cups:

Bottles boost tooth decay. Milk has lactose, a type of sugar. And if you're giving your child juice in a bottle (though you shouldn't), that's even worse. "The acid in juice is a nightmare for teeth," Ayoob says.

Milk should remain an important part of your child's diet, and juice is OK now and then. Sucked from a bottle though, the sugar and acid will stay longer on their teeth, which could lead to cavities. Letting a baby go to sleep with a bottle is especially bad, because your body makes less saliva (which helps to wash away food particles) while you're asleep.

Prolonged use of a bottle is linked to obesity. Research shows that kids who are still using a bottle at age 2 are more likely to be obese by the time they're almost 6. Ayoob says some kids walk around with a bottle in their mouths all the time, even though they’re eating plenty of solid food. This can result in too many calories.

He says that being too attached to the bottle could have the opposite effect, too: With some picky eaters, the bottle becomes the “go-to meal," and a child may not be eating enough of his breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Bottles could mess with her smile. Constant sucking can change the position of her adult teeth down the line. It can affect the development of her facial muscles and palate (roof of her mouth), says Peter Richel, MD. He's the chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. This can easily lead to an overbite that might later need to be corrected with orthodontia such as braces.

Drinking while laying down increases the chance of ear infections. If your little one loves to curl up with a bottle, watch out.

"Some of the milk kind of gurgles up in the back of the throat, and it just sort of sits there while bacteria grows," Ayoob says. "Bacteria can crawl right up the Eustachian tube [in the throat] and into the ear."

Giving the Bottle the Boot

Your child should know how to drink out of a cup before you take away the bottle. Many pediatricians tell parents to introduce sippy cups around 6 to 9 months. That's when kids commonly start drinking water and other liquids besides formula and breast milk.

If, from a young age, you start giving some milk (not just water) in sippy or regular cups, then things will be easier when you're ready to get rid of the bottle for good, Richel says.

Once you decide to ditch bottles, there are two main ways to go about it: Go cold turkey, or slowly wean her off. Whichever way you choose, experts agree that sticking to it is key. "Cold turkey is the quickest but most difficult for parents, because they feel they are being cruel," Richel says.

Just don't expect either way to be easy. Even if you opt to wean slowly, "there will be some pushback," Ayoob says. "If you're trying to do it without any resistance whatsoever, you're in the wrong business."

Cold turkey: One day, you simply make all the bottles disappear. If your child is old enough to understand, it might help to include them in the process. For example, you can warn them that today is the last day for bottles, and that starting tomorrow, they are going to drink only from "big boy" cups.

Weaning: The idea is to slowly swap out bottles in favor of cups. For example, you might fill in a cup for the bottle at just one feeding a day, then add a second cup the following week.

No matter how slow (or fast) you want to go, Ayoob says you should take away the mid-day bottles first, then the morning one. Get your child used to eating something solid first thing in the morning, he says, before you remove the morning bottle.

Most experts (and parents!) agree that taking away the nighttime bottle is the toughest final step. "Denying your baby a bottle, especially that last one before bed, can be incredibly challenging for moms and dads,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years. “It makes it far more difficult to get babies to sleep, and when babies don’t sleep, neither do their parents."

To make things easier, she says to have a bedtime ritual in place. This keeps you from solely relying on the bottle to ease your child into sleep. "A nice warm bath, rocking while reading a story, and snuggling with a lovey can be great sources of comfort, security, and relaxation before bedtime, even when the bedtime bottle is no longer a part of the routine," she says.

Common Concerns

Nervous about stopping the bottle? We asked the experts to offer some extra help and support.

You're thinking: "She hates sippy cups." 

The fix: To protect her teeth, try a cup that doesn't have a solid spout. It's too similar to a nipple, says Ayoob, who says a straw is a better choice. But in the end, "the best sippy cup is the one your child will drink from happily and consistently," McAllister says. "Buy a few different types and experiment. When you find one your child likes, buy a few!"

You can also have your child use regular, non-sippy cups. Still, it might take some time for her to learn to use it by herself. Give her something thick -- like vanilla yogurt or some puréed fruit that's been thinned with a little water -- to cut back on spills, Ayoob says.

You're thinking: "She'll drink water or juice from a sippy cup -- just not milk." 

The fix: "Some children love the bottle so very much that they will be stubborn to take milk from anything else, but this is a temporary hunger strike!" Richel says.

Not willing to wait it out? Take the nipple off the bottle and offer it with a straw instead. Or start putting water in bottles and milk in cups and give your child a choice. "Tell her, 'Milk comes in a cup now. Water comes in a bottle. Which one do you want?'" Ayoob says. You can also try to make milk in a cup more tempting by flavoring it with puréed strawberries or other fruit. "A strawberry 'milkshake' might tempt her to drink from a cup," McAllister says.

You're thinking: "If she refuses the cup, she won't get enough calcium."

The fix: Don't worry about them not getting enough calcium, even if they refuse milk from a cup for several weeks. Just be sure to feed them other sources, such as cheese and yogurt. Broccoli, soy milk, and calcium-fortified orange juice are good picks, too.

You're thinking: "He's going to throw a tantrum."

The fix: Let them. Throwing a fit is hardly out of character for a toddler, and they'll get over it. "If the parent is willing to put up with a meltdown for a day or two, it will go away," Ayoob says. "Remember, if he can drink from a cup, you're not denying him liquid."

You're thinking: "She'll never fall asleep."

The fix: Many children are used to having a bottle to settle down, but that will change. "Infants and toddlers can learn to self-soothe without the sucking that they have been accustomed to from pacifiers or bottles," Richel says. "It simply takes a bit of time. But it will happen."

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Breast milk is the most useful and complete food for a newborn, but there are situations when a mother is forced to switch to mixed or artificial feeding, and sometimes she needs to go away on business and in this situation, expressed breast milk can be used for feeding milk. In such situations, a bottle is indispensable, so parents face the question of how to choose a bottle for their baby.​

When choosing a bottle, pay attention to the following criteria: flow​​

Also pay attention to the additional features and properties of the bottles. This can be a special valve or system that reduces the risk of spitting up and gas, a flow-optimized physiological teat with a wide base, or special teats for premature and small babies.​


Bottles are usually made of glass or plastic. Glass bottles are considered the most environmentally friendly, they are durable and can withstand repeated sterilization, but they are quite heavy and can be easily broken. Plastic bottles are light and safe and can withstand high temperatures, but they wear out faster and need to be replaced over time.

Bottle nipples are available in latex or silicone. Latex nipples are soft, but short-lived and can cause allergies. Silicone nipples are stronger and last longer, and at the same time they are quite soft and flexible.​​


Modern bottles come in a wide variety of shapes and colours. Choose the one that you like, but the main thing is that the baby is comfortable to hold it. For small hands, a narrowed to the center or curly bottle is suitable.

Classic teats are used by many parents, the classic teat is round and slightly elongated. Anatomical nipples resemble a woman's nipple and are considered the most suitable for feeding a baby, since it is just as difficult to drink milk from it as from a breast. This is especially important when combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding. There are also nipples with a beveled edge, it is believed that such nipples do not affect the bite.​​

Anti-colic valve

Sucking on the bottle can cause air to be swallowed by the baby, causing colic. Therefore, it is worth giving preference to bottles that have an anti-colic valve.

Bottle capacity

The size of the bottle is selected according to the baby's age. The older the baby gets, the more food he needs, so the volume of the bottle must be increased. Usually there are bottles for the smallest - up to 150-200 ml and for older children from 200 ml. Pay attention to the size of the neck - bottles with a wide neck are easier to clean and it is more convenient to pour the mixture into it.​​

Teat flow speed For a newborn baby, it is necessary to choose a nipple with a slow flow so that he does not choke during feeding. As they grow older, it is necessary to change the nipple to a faster flow so that the baby does not get nervous and gets enough milk. You should also pay attention to the number and size of holes in the nipple - more for thick food and smaller for liquids.​​

How many bottles and nipples to have

If the baby is breastfed, two 60 to 125 ml bottles will be enough to supplement him with water if necessary or to feed him with expressed breast milk during temporary weaning mothers. Formula-fed babies will need 3-4 bottles of 150-330 ml and two bottles for other liquids (water, juice, tea).​​

, and also if the integrity of the nipple is damaged or the baby bites through it when the first teeth appear.

Your Choice

You can now narrow your search down to bottle characteristics and personal preferences. To help you decide, answer a few more questions:

  • Will you bottle feed your baby only or would you like to combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding? be later? Perhaps you will be away on business or want to go to work?

If you plan to combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding, then the Natural bottle is suitable for you and your baby, but if you plan to formula feed the baby, then we suggest considering the Anti-colic bottle. To reduce the risk of spitting up, gas and colic, we offer Anti-colic bottles with an AirFree valve. from natural sucking. The built-in anti-colic valve prevents air from entering the tummy and reduces the risk of colic.

Learn more about Natural bottles:

Philips Avent Anti-colic bottles with a unique AirFree valve are designed to help your baby
swallow less air and reduce the risk of spitting up. The AirFree valve prevents air from entering the nipple: even in the horizontal position of the bottle, the nipple always remains filled with milk, which allows you to feed your baby in an upright position. Reducing the amount of air your baby can swallow while feeding helps reduce the risk of problems such as colic, gas, and spitting up.

More about the bottles of the Anti-COLIC series:

volumes of Philips Avent

A select the volume of the bottle in accordance with the age of your baby:

  • 0 months- 60 ml
  • 0 month + - 125 ml
  • from 1 month - 260 ml
  • from 6 months - 330 ml

But do not forget that babies have individual characteristics, their own growth and development rate. Therefore, some children can drink more for feeding, others can drink the same portion in two stages with a short break. Therefore, choose the optimal bottle size for your baby based on his needs and feeding behavior.​​

​Philips Avent Bottle Teats​

The size and number of holes in the nipple determine the volume and speed of breast milk or formula from the bottle. The number and size of holes in the nipple increase with the age of the baby.

Natural teat range

just as difficult as the chest.

Variable Flow Teat

The variable flow teat has 3 flow rates and allows you to control the flow rate by simply turning the bottle. Thus, you can adjust the flow rate according to the density of the liquid and the pace at which the baby drinks. This pacifier is suitable for babies 3 months+. pulp, cereals, grain milk, etc.

All Philips Avent Natural teats can be found here.

Anti-colic nipple assortment​

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Baby feeding bottle: the rules of a successful purchase - Parents.


Baby bottle

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Different shapes of feeding bottles currently available: 902 902 from a classic cylinder to an oval with a hole in the middle. Narrow cylindrical containers can already be attributed to an outdated form, since it is not very convenient for the baby to hold such a container. Therefore, most mothers tend to bottles that have a narrowing in the middle - especially for children's hands. The bottle, curved in the middle, contributes to better filling of the nipple - the child swallows less air.

Additional protection against colic will be a special hole in the bottom, which can be opened during feeding - air will flow through it, which will relieve the pressure inside the bottle.

When choosing, also pay attention to how convenient it will be for you to wash the bottle. If its shape is too complex, then the brush may not reach some corners. It is convenient to fill and wash the bottle if its neck is wide. The shape of the bottle can be both straight and very intricate. The bottle in the form of a ring is convenient for the baby to hold, but it is not easy to wash it. Therefore, it is better to choose a feeding bottle without excessive folds - it is easier to care for. When your baby starts trying to hold the bottle by himself, opt for ribbed models or ones that taper down the middle.

When choosing a bottle, you should also pay attention to the design of the nipple. Recently, manufacturers have begun to rely on the physiological shape of the nipple, which mimics the shape of the female nipple. This is very important if the baby is on a mixed diet, or if you are exclusively breastfeeding, but have to periodically express milk and give it from a bottle. Or you started to supplement the baby with tea or juice. Then such a nipple will help you to maintain natural feeding, as it makes the transition from breast to bottle easy and does not cause addiction.

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Special Purpose Bottles

Anti-Colic Bottles . This is the perfect dish for bottle-fed newborns. The biggest digestive problem in babies is the painful colic that comes from swallowing air. Anti-colic bottles are designed to prevent air from being swallowed during feeding. Each manufacturer offers its own know-how in solving this problem. Some have a removable system of pistons and valves that is installed in the neck, while others have an additional nipple with valves that prevent the formation of a vacuum in it. With such bottles, it is comfortable for the baby to suck, and then nothing disturbs in a dream.

Physiological bottles are hemispheres that follow the shape of the female breast. These bottles have not just an unusual shape, but excellent functional features. Soft, like a large nipple with a hard bottom, they are ideal for breastfeeding babies. The fact is that due to their design, these bottles do not spoil the sucking habit of the breast in newborns. The child captures the nipple of a regular bottle only with his lips, he can take the same nipple in the same way as the mother's breast, and a small hole in such a nipple makes the baby work pretty hard to get food. Thus, sucking on such physiological bottles is not much different from sucking on the breast.

Glass or plastic?

Above all, the bottle must be made from safe, durable and non-toxic materials. The bottles are glass and plastic. Glass-loving moms focus on easy cleaning — these bottles are easy to keep clean, as they won't stain when exposed to juice, yogurt, or soup. However, glass containers also have obvious disadvantages: they are heavy in weight for a baby, they can easily break, and besides, the liquid in them is heated for quite a long time due to the thickness of the glass.

Plastic bottles, on the other hand, can be stained by food ingredients. But at the same time they are safer for the baby, as he can easily hold the plastic in his hand. Plastic bottles weigh less, do not break, do not crack from boiling water and can have different shapes. Plastic ones are especially convenient for walking and on the road, and they are also indispensable when a child learns to drink from a bottle on his own.

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How many bottles do you need and which ones

Choose the size of the bottle according to the intended use. So, for feeding crumbs from birth to six months, a volume of 125 ml is suitable. And a one-year-old baby will need 330 ml. Try to get a bottle that has a clearly marked measuring scale so that you can easily mark how much food you cooked and how much the child ended up eating.

If you are breastfeeding, one or two bottles will be enough to give your baby expressed milk and medicine, water or juice while you are away. If the baby is bottle-fed, you will need at least six bottles - for 5-8 feedings per day.

Care Instructions

Wash the bottle and teat before each use. To do this, use special detergents and a brush. The immune system of a newborn baby is practically absent and up to six months it is susceptible to any infections, which is why it is so important to sterilize the feeding bottle often, and then leave it in the air until it is completely dry. Sterilize both the pacifier and the bottle after every feeding. To do this, just fill them completely with water and boil for 5 minutes. It is convenient to use a microwave sterilizer, it can also be done in a double boiler or multicooker with the appropriate function. A more expensive option is an electric sterilizer. Another mandatory element is a cap that protects the nipple from external influences between feedings.


  1. It is convenient to buy bottles not individually, but in whole sets. They usually include everything you need: bottles of different sizes, a basic set of nipples, caps, coasters, brushes for washing nipples and bottles, and more.

  2. The detachable handle will be needed when your baby can hold the bottle by himself.

  3. The bottle is easy to carry around in the dedicated compartment or in your purse. If you need the liquid in the bottle to be at a certain temperature for a while, use a thermos bag. In summer, it will keep the bottle cool, and in winter it will not let it get cold.

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