Time to ditch the bottle? Here’s who might help

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends weaning bottle-fed infants completely by 15 months.

Many parents, however, bottle-feed their toddlers much longer, which can be risky.

Some studies show that prolonged bottle feeding results in excessive milk intake. Too much milk can leave a child with little room for iron rich foods such as whole grains and green veggies.

But how to wean a toddler from the bottle? It turns out that an intervention program designed for use by pediatricians may soon be something that will help.

A study, “Office-Based Intervention to Reduce Bottle Use Among Toddlers: TARGet Kids! Pragmatic, Randomized Trial,” published in the August issue of Pediatrics (published online July 12), looked at a trial program at one pediatric practice designed to help parents wean their 9-month-old infants.

In addition to standard nutrition guidance for the 9-month well-child visit, parents in the intervention group were given a sippy cup and instructions for using the cup to transition their child from the bottle.

The parents also received additional education about the risks of continued bottle use, including tooth decay, iron depletion and poorer performance in school.

The intervention required fewer than five minutes to administer. After following the children to age 2, no significant decrease was noted in levels of iron deficiency among the intervention group.

However, this group was significantly less likely to be using a bottle during the day or in bed at age 2, and as a group had been weaned 4 months earlier than the control group.

More thoughts on giving up the bottle here.