I have decided to restore to breast pumping and feeding through bottle to the baby (1 month old). My relatives tell me that this can lead to bottle addiction to baby and then she'll want to drink only from the bottle even when she grows up to 5 years of age.

What should be done to prevent baby bottle addiction assuming I'll be feeding her the milk through bottle till she's fit enough to drink through the tumbler?

  • Why not breast feed the baby? Jul 16, 2013 at 14:09
  • @DaveClarke Breast feeding and feeding stored breast milk via bottle are not mutually exclusive. Many breastfeeding mothers bottle excess.
    – user420
    Jul 16, 2013 at 20:25
  • @Beofett: I read the post differently, as it focuses heavily on bottle feeding. The concern should be nipple confusion – whether the baby will take the breast after using bottles extensively. Jul 16, 2013 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


I think baby bottle addiction was much more of a concern before the advent of sippy cups. There are many good reasons to break your child of a bottle including

  1. Dental hygiene Drinking from a bottle all day and/or all night can cause tooth decay even in teeth that haven't emerged yet. Both breastmilk and formula have lactose in them which provides food for bacteria in the mouth and allow them to produce cavities.
  2. Balanced diet A baby who is allowed to suck on a bottle all day is less likely to want to eat real food. Not much of a problem now, but certainly as she gets older.
  3. Development Plugging your baby's mouth with a nipple will likely inhibit their speech development, and a one-year-old who is holding on to a bottle will not be able to use both hands to play.

You don't want to create a bottle addiction only to have it transfer over to a sippy cup. Teaching your child that bottles are only for eating and not allowing her to carry one around all day is probably your first step in preventing an addiction. Again, not a problem now, but as she grows older and becomes more mobile, it can be tempting to let her carry the bottle with her. Introducing a sippy cup when she's old enough can help to make the transition off the bottle easier. At first, introduce it as a toy. We would put water in the cup and allow our kids to just practice with it at first. Our son had his last bottle on his first birthday; my daughter took her last bottle around 14 months.

But, like I mentioned above, you don't want to create a sippy addiction or transfer a bottle addiction over to a sippy cup. Some parents skip the sippy altogether and move straight to a regular cup. My daughter was drinking from a regular cup pretty proficiently by the time she was 18 months old. My son was a little slower--he was probably 2.

Either way, the key is to more or less prevent access to the bottle/sippy unless your baby is using it for eating or drinking during a meal.

  • thanks for your insight. I have created a new question regarding the tooth decay, please have a look. Uptill what age can /i give the bottle "safely" to the child (without the fear of tooth decay)? Jul 16, 2013 at 15:41
  • 1
    Agree. Bottle "addiction" is actually just bottle "habit" - if bottles are for meals only and the child is eating solids and given opportunities to drink from a cup at an appropriate age, this is usually not a problem. If the bottle is carried around all day long or used as a means to comfort rather than feed, the habit could become a problem. Even if it does, habits are breakable.
    – MJ6
    Jul 24, 2013 at 0:58

A 1 month old can get food from a few places: the breast, a supplemental nursing system, or a bottle. By 4 months you could potentially introduce cup feeding or spoon feeding of formula or breastmilk, but not all children can do it. However during the newborn phase your child is designed to get comfort from sucking on the breast or bottle. It's OK.

Bottle addiction varies from child to child. Some children, indeed, do not want to give up their beloved bottles when they are young toddlers. Others switch easiliy to a transitional sippy cup like this one or this one or a straw cup and eventually to a tumbler.

One thing that may be helpful in preventing a bottle addiction is to provide your child with other comfort objects: a pacifier now and a soft lovely at an appropriate age, for example. That way when the time comes to remove the bottle, my pediatrician said at 15 months but the recommendations vary, your toddler is not left without a source of comfort.

When looking at how to transition my child from a bottle to a sippy cup I discovered that most parents use two approaches.

  1. Take the bottle away cold turkey and only offer sippy cups. Most young toddlers are upset with this change for 1-2 days and then forget about it. Long-term memory does not fully develop until speech develops so the transition from bottle to sippy using a cold turkey method will be easier earlier. We successfully used this method with my child at 13 months. I simply moved her from a bottle (which we had given her after I began weaning her from breastfeeding at 12 months) to a soft-spout sippy cup. She did not even protest. We made sure to make the transition during a time when she seemed to be developmentally stable.

  2. Wait until the toddler is ready to give up the bottle. Many pediatricians and pediatric dentists would not approve of this practice, but many parents use it. If you do use it, make sure that your child is not getting a bottle after tooth brushing beyond when your pediatrician recommends. As your child ages limit bottle use to meal times. Under this method many toddlers will eventually express a willingness to switch, or you can encourage it by using one of the many tricks for older toddlers such as switching bottles with a new toy.

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