When Should Children Stop Drinking Out of a Bottle?

Grandparents did poorly, overall, on a recent quiz about children’s safety, health and nutrition, as reported in a moms.today.com article.

5 months old baby boy sucking milk (family mem...

5-month-old baby boy drinking from a bottle . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The quiz was conducted by Dr. Amanda Soong, pediatrician, professor and Mom.

49 grandparents in three grandparenting support groups, many of them primary caregivers, answered the quiz.

Dr. Soong presented the results at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Grandparents did pretty well, however, on this, the ninth of fifteen questions asked.

The question is:

When Should Children Stop Drinking Out of a Bottle?

The possible answers are:

  • 9 months (44.9% of grandparents picked this answer)
  • 12 months (38.8% of grandparents picked this answer)
  • 15 months (8.2%)
  • 18 months (8.2%)

Which answer did you pick?

While you should start introducing the cup at 6 months, weaning a baby off the bottle is different if they are breast-fed or bottle-fed.

Thus, according to the AAP, there are two possible correct answers.

If a baby is fed with formula, they should be moving to a cup at nine months.

If breast-fed, they should be drinking from a cup at 12 months, because that is how long AAP recommends you nurse.

84% of the grandparents got one of the right answers.

Further, Dr. Soong recommends that a bottle at night be removed at six months, as the baby is starting to use a cup during the day.

Regardless of how long the baby has a bottle at night, it should only have water in it.

Since by four to six months a baby is sleeping through the night, they do not need a bottle except for comforting, and, if they get used to it and can’t find it in the middle of the night, may have trouble going back to sleep.

Some babies may find a pacifier comforting and Dr. Soong recommends this instead of a bottle at night.

Though they should also no longer need a pacifier by six months, Dr. Soong confesses that her own 13-month-old still uses a pacifier.

By 18 months, all babies should have completely transitioned from bottle to cup and should no longer need a bottle at bedtime or during the day.

Why Is This Important?

The risk of keeping a baby on a bottle too long is of tooth decay.

The American Dental Association also recommends that a baby be weaned from a bottle by 12 months and that a bottle should never have anything but water, milk or formula in it.

Bottles are necessary under six months before an infant has developed enough to drink from a cup.

At six months, they cannot yet hold a cup but can be introduced to sipping from a cup an adult is holding for them.

By 12 months, they should be able to hold their own cup and no longer need a bottle during the day or at night.

This allows them to drink an appropriate amount of milk or water instead of sipping on it from a bottle for long periods of time.

When did you wean your children from the bottle?

Did you use pacifiers?

Did you know letting a toddler use a bottle might lead to tooth decay?

Get our “How to Leap the Generation Gap” Report for more tips on how recommendations for baby safety have changed.

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To you and your sweet grandchildren’s beautiful teeth.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”



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