“My 11-month-old goes to bed with a bottle and wakes for a bottle in the night. How do I break her of this habit?”
This is one of the most common questions I receive as a sleep consultant! Although there are other factors that may be involved, dropping the bottle can be an easy thing.
When you put your baby in bed at night, it’s fine to include the bottle in her routine, we just don't want it last. You could start with a bottle, then go into a bath, put on pjs, read a story or two, and into the crib awake.
What you really want to avoid is giving her the bottle until she falls asleep or putting her in her crib with the bottle. You do not want your baby to fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth because if she wakes up in the middle of the night she thinks she needs that bottle again to sleep. If you come with her bottle and feed her to sleep or put it into the crib, she sucks herself back to sleep with the bottle.
Not only is that hard for her sleep strategies, but it is also very damaging to her teeth that are coming in. Which is why I recommend putting the bottle a little earlier in your routine. You can have a bath, then her bottle, then brush her teeth, and then back for some stories, but you should be putting her into the crib awake and without a bottle. If this sounds like an impossible task, that's what I am here for! Silver Moon Sleep Consulting will give you some strategies to deal with the two weeks it is probably going to take to get her on track, learning a new strategy for getting herself to sleep.
You don’t have to leave the room; you can stay with her if you like, but she really does need to start connecting the steps that are involved in putting herself to sleep independently so that she is not relying on that bottle! Otherwise, she will most likely keep waking for that bottle. It could go on well into the second year so you really want to make sure you break this habit now. She will need to learn a new way to sleep and she will start sleeping a solid night which will be better for her (and you)!