I started offering Lauren sippy cups around six or seven months old, hoping to create a long process of switching from bottles to sippy cups instead of cutting her off cold turkey. As her first birthday approached, it seemed success with the "sippies" was coming just one drop at a time. As with so many other concerns I have asked my mom about since Lauren was born, she told me to relax, that Lauren would get there in her own good time. As usual, my mom was right, and Lauren quickly started accepting her milk in her sippies as the final days to her birthday approached. We switched from bottles to cups one meal at a time. We're all sippy now at just about 13 months, with the exception of her bottle at bedtime. Chris and I just discussed the other day that she's probably ready for a sippy cup at bedtime now, but we decided to allow Lauren to have the nice warm milk from a bottle for now. It's been part of her bedtime ritual for many months.
I should make clear that doctors and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies stop using bottles by age one. The main reason for that has always been the child's teeth.
A new study out today offers another reason for me to give the bottle the boot, yes, even at bedtime. Kids who are drinking from a bottle at age two are more likely to obese when they are five years old than kids who gave up bottles. The research was done at Temple University in Pennsylvania, was published in the Journal of Pediatrics and was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The researchers looked at data of 6,750 children from a federal survey. They determined and found that 22% of the children were prolonged bottle users, meaning they still used a bottle at age two as their main drink container, and/or went to bed with a bottle with a calorie-containing beverage, such as milk. Of the 22% of long-term bottle drinkers, about 23% of them were obese by age 5.
We've given Lauren a bottle to take with her into her crib (I figure we'll have enough fun of breaking the habit of her beloved pacifier one day), but drinking a bottle is part of her bedtime routine. Now that she has teeth (eight so far), we have to brush after the bottle instead of after her bath.
We'll have to switch Lauren from a bottle of milk to a sippy of milk. The eventual plan is to switch her to water, making sure she gets the calories she needs for the day by the time dinner wraps up.
I should probably go ahead and switch Lauren to the sippy at bedtime. I have found increasingly, over the last month especially, that Lauren goes with the flow of changes we present her with much more easily than I expect. Perhaps it's me who wants to keep giving "my baby" a bottle at bedtime. I know this won't be the last time that I cling to the idea of Lauren as just a baby when she's growing up so fast.