Are you struggling with putting your baby to sleep without his/her bottle? When your baby starts teething and his/her bedtime routine starts changing, it can be quite the challenge. Many parents feel frustrated when they can’t find a way to get their baby to go to bed with ease. While it might sound challenging, it doesn’t have to be. This is one of the first challenging moments that many new parents experience.
First off, take a deep breath. You will be able to get your baby to sleep without the bottle. Your baby needs to learn how to go to sleep without a bottle. It is an important developmental phase and one that will help your child to have healthier teeth and gums.
Your child can be sleep trained or you can create a unique bedtime routine that works for your family. There is no right or wrong answer in routines. You just need to be consistent so create a routine that will work for your family. Getting your baby to sleep without a bottle is one of those things that seems much harder than it actually is.
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Why Your Baby Needs to Go to Sleep Without a Bottle
The main reasons that you should not put your baby to sleep with a bottle have to do with dental health. If your baby is sleeping with a bottle, they are going to have tooth decay from the milk staying in their mouth and on their teeth.
The best thing that you can do is to take away the bottle when your baby is done feeding. If you need to feed your baby while they are sleeping, take them out of their bed, hold them, and then take away the bottle before putting them back to bed.
In addition to dental health factors, there are other risks associated with babies sleeping with bottles. Your baby should not be feeding when there is no adult present. Being unsupervised with a bottle can lead to an ear infection (from the milk settling) or choking.
When Should Baby Be Sleeping Without a Bottle?
The sources vary as to when a baby should be sleeping without a bottle. Perhaps this is because babies do not all get teeth at the same time. Most babies will have their first tooth around 6 months of age.
However, some babies get their first tooth as early as 4 months or as late as 1 year old. So, the recommended age for taking away the bottle while your baby is sleeping is 6 months old, but if your baby gets teeth earlier or doesn’t have teeth yet, this can change.
Tips to Put Your Baby to Bed Without a Bottle
There are several things that you can do that will make the transition from bedtime with a bottle to bedtime without a bottle easier. Here are just a few of these tips.
- Talk to Your Baby – One of the first thing that you can do is talk to your baby about the bottle. Explain to him/her that they can have the bottle during the day, but at night there is no bottle. While you might not think that they are old enough to understand, having this conversation can do more than you think.
- Create a Bedtime Routine – Getting baby ready for sleep is half the battle. Creating the same bedtime routine every night helps him/her to fall asleep quickly and with ease. Start with a relaxing bath or shower. Use lavender scented lotion and baby wash to help get them ready for sleep. Then read a story, feed a last bottle, and brush their teeth. How you put baby to sleep is up to you. You can rock him/her, lay him/her in their crib, or simply sit beside him/her and pat their back.
- Make the Switch to Water – Some parents find that slowly diluting their little one’s bottle is the best way to get them to give it up on their own. This should be done over a course of time where you slowly dilute the bottle with water a little at a time. Another thing that you can do is to start offering milk with cups and to quite offering milk in a bottle.
There is no for sure method that works with every baby, but these tips can help you find the right method for your baby.
Sleep training has been a controversial topic in the past. This is because the cry-it-out method used to be called sleep training. Today’s sleep training methods do not require that the cry-it-out method be used. This is because research is showing that having a baby cry themselves to sleep can have an impact on their nervous system and can put them at a higher risk for panic attacks and anxiety as they get older.
Some parents believe that sleep training is the best method to teach children how to comfort themselves and put themselves to sleep. Other parents think that this method is cruel and that it can cause issues with attachment and personal relationships later in life. Doctors fall on both sides of the argument as well.
If you are interested in sleep training your baby. Then there are some steps that you can take to make this an easier process. Not all sleep training methods use the cry-it-out strategy.
Make Your Baby Giggle – While it might sound counter-productive to have your baby giggle when you are trying to put them to sleep, the truth is that babies often experience stress as a factor that contributes to them not sleeping. Making your baby giggle relaxes him/her and allows them to be ready for bed.
Be Consistent – Your baby will need a regular schedule to be successful with sleep training.
Make Sure Bedtime is at the Right Time – Sometimes you might need to adjust bedtime to make it earlier or later. If your baby is tired and you find that they are getting their second wind before bedtime, then making bedtime earlier can result in better sleep. If your baby is not tired and you can’t get them to sleep for long periods, then you might need to adjust their bedtime to later.
Play Music – Science shows that music can help your child to sleep better. If you do not have music that you want to play all night, try to use a noise machine. Having a low level of noise can help your baby from being startled which can keep him/her asleep longer.
Sleep struggles can make life hard for parents and babies alike. When you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to be grumpy and this works both ways.
If you want to ensure that your child is going to be well cared for you need to make sure that you are getting enough sleep. It’s important to remember that all babies go through phases and that with consistency your baby will be sleeping well in no time at all.