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We've all heard the horror stories: The toddler (or older child) who can't—won't—give up her bottle. If you want to head off this battle, pay attention: It's better to start the process earlier rather than later. "It doesn't get any easier when a child gets older," says Laura Jana, M.D., a pediatrician in Omaha, Neb. "In fact, it can get much harder."
Why should you care if your baby gets maniacally attached to her baba? "Prolonged bathing of the teeth with any liquid other than water puts you at risk for tooth decay," Jana explains. But that's not all: The older a child gets and the more attached she is to her bottle, the more that ties into "habit drinking" and using the bottle for soothing. This could set her up for other problems, including childhood obesity.
Jana offers the following tips for avoiding the bottle battle:
For more information on how to wean from breastfeeding, check out our tips on our How to Win at Weaning page. —Carole Anderson Lucia