It has been found that prolonged bottle feeding for babies can actually be harmful. A study of 6,750 American children discovered that toddlers at the age of two who continue to drink from bottles are more likely to be obese at age of five years than those weaned off earlier.
While researchers are unsure if the effects of bottle feeding too long are to be directly blamed for obesity in these preschoolers. They believe their findings raise the possibility that weaning a baby around his first birthday could help prevent excessive weight gain.
To be better informed on how bottle feeding can be harmful for babies, we’ve made a guide in everything parents should know. We will be looking into the effects prolonged bottle feeding for babies has and ways to train them to lose the milk bottle.
Bottle Feeding For Newborn Babies
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According to the research, one in every five children was still using a bottle at the age of 24 months, either at night or all the time.
And of those long-term bottle users, roughly one in every five was obese at the age of five years, versus about one in six children who’d been weaned earlier.
Researchers then looked at several factors that could affect a child’s risk of obesity including the mother’s weight, family income and education, and whether the child had ever been breastfed.
They found that prolonged bottle feeding for babies, itself, was linked to a 33 per cent increase in children’s risk of obesity.
Effects Of Bottle Feeding Too Long For Babies
Prolonged bottle feeding for babies also does much harm to the child’s dental health development.
Dr Chin Shou King, dental surgeon and director of T32 Junior at Camden Medical Centre, says, “Some fall asleep with milk bottles in their mouth. As milk contain a lot of sugar, this can cause cavities.”
“Bottle-feeding has similar effects to thumb sucking. It can cause an anterior open bite which is essentially a gap between the upper and lower sets of teeth,” he adds.
Agreeing with other paediatricians, he advised parents to wean their toddlers off the milk bottle at around 12-18 months or earlier to reduce the adverse effects of bottle-feeding too long.
5 Ways To Get Your Toddler To Lose The Milk Bottle
As they get used to bottle feeding, it may be tough for babies to just instantly break the habit. Bottles are often a comfort item for these little cherubs. That’s why you might find it hard to train your young ones off them. Fret not, we have compiled five easy ways for you to do so.
1. Daytime drama
Why put yourself and your kid through all that stress? We all know the night feeding is the hardest to stop so start your endeavour against prolonged bottle feeding in the day.
Use a sippy cup or a straw cup filled with water instead. Show him that drinking from a cup is fun especially if he uses a straw. Let him play with it and blow bubbles into the water. Once he realizes that it’s a new fun adventure that he is starting on, he will begin to ask for his drinks in a cup instead.
2. Look ma, I’m using a cup too!
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Truth is, kids, mimic the people around them all the time. Use this to your advantage. Always show him that drinking from a cup is how mummy and daddy do it.
When you’re out with him, show him how the other kids are also using cups. When he sees his peers drinking as such, he would be more motivated to do so.
3. Baby, meet Shaun the sheep
Most toddlers find it hardest to go to sleep without their bottles. Some even treat it like a security blanket, tottering around with it in their hands or mouths.
When weaning a child of this sort, try introducing a new comfort toy such as a stuffed animal, a small pillow or a blanket. At bedtime, play with your kid and the toy to keep him distracted. He probably will not remember to ask for a bottle.
At the same time, make sure that you do not leave a blanket, stuff toy or pillow in his crib, which can potentially lead to suffocation.
4. Incentives and praises
Keep the praises going. Every time your child drinks from a cup, pat him on his back and tell him what a good boy he has been.
It is also a good idea to start calling him a big boy and that you’re proud that he is growing up quickly. You can also reward his behaviour by offering him little treats every time he does good by using a cup.
He would be excited to move on from bottles and eventually get used to it.
5. Stick to it
Like all good parenting steps, always follow through with your actions. Giving up halfway will make your child think that it is all right for him to continue drinking from a bottle and that he will get his own way.
So have faith and stick to your plan of action once you’ve started.
Photo credit: Shaun the sheep, Rin Haq
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