Q. I'm in the process of weaning my 13 month old son off the bottle. He has been drinking two 9-oz bottles per day. I've stopped the morning bottle and am just doing an evening one. The problem is that I can't get him to drink any milk unless it's in a bottle. I've tried every other sort of cup to no avail. I've even tried to mix in formula, other flavors, etc. and he just isn't buying it. He drinks other beverages without a problem and is a good eater. His weight is good. I've heard that it's essential for babies under two years to drink at least 16 oz of whole milk a day. Any suggestions?
A. It's difficult, but you just need to stick with it and be patient. The issue will only become a major struggle if you fret too much about it or try and put pressure on your son. Try to resist the urge to give in and give the bottle if he has not had his milk from a cup. If you do that, then he learns that he doesn't have to drink milk from a cup; all he has to do is wait, and he will get his way.
Offer milk in the cup at every meal. Put it in the same cup and place that you would serve other beverages that he does drink from the cup. Praise him if he tries it, don't say anything if he doesn't. It might also help if other family members are drinking milk at the table. Don't worry if this means that he goes for some time without drinking any milk. True, it is important for growing toddlers, but he will be ok if he goes without for a few days to a week or so.
I always recommend Ellyn Satter's books; "How to get your child to eat, but not too much" and "Child of Mine, feeding with compassion and good sense" to parents who have concerns about the feeding relationship. Ellyn's philosophy is that it is the parent's responsibility to offer a variety of healthy choices to the child, and the child's responsibility to decide what and how much he eats, and even wether or not he will eat at all. It is when the parent crosses that boundary that the struggles begin.
To apply that philosophy to your situation, it is your responsibility to offer the milk, and your son's responsibility to chose to drink it or not. Don't fret; he *will* make the right decision if he is not pressured too much.
Hope this helps! Check with your local library to see if they carry Ellyn's books.