Q. I have two sons: an 18-year-old and a 3-year-old. When my oldest was a baby, I let family and friends guide me and I took away his bottle and pacifier and literally forced him into potty training. I see that as a mistake.
Now my 3-year-old enjoys sitting in my lap each night, reading books and drinking a bottle of milk. My pediatrician feels this is ridiculous, as does my baby-sitter. Now my husband is asking when he is giving up the bottle.
I would like to know what harm I am doing in letting my son keep his bottle.
A.You are probably doing no harm as long as your son doesn't take the bottle to bed at night with milk in it, which could harm his future teeth. It's a good idea to rinse his mouth (with water in the bottle) before you put him to bed.
The only problem I see with what you are doing is that your son must sense others' disappointment in him. Unconsciously, you may be overcompensating for your strictness with your older child.
Why not ask your son now whether you and he (or his father and he) could find an important "lovey" (such as a favorite toy) to use as a transitional object. Encourage him to turn to this lovey as a help when he falls down or must make other transitions during the day. Attach the bottle to the lovey until he begins to love it as much as the bottle.
For the reading time and closeness with you at night, let him gradually take on the lovey instead of the bottle. Finally, you can let the lovey replace the bottle. Just make sure you do all of this on his schedule.
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