I was terrified of bottle weaning (and I still kind of am). My pediatrician says we can rest a little easier once Dylan hits 20 pounds, but he's still not there yet (at 13 months) and so worry, I do!
I knew we needed to bottle wean around a year. We introduced a sippy cups...well a variety of sippy cups...to Dylan starting at about 6 months. He didn't understand them and usually choked on the thin water (he's bottles were thickened). Eventually I bought a version that was basically a nipple and he did okay with it, but that really defeats the purpose of bottle weaning.
I bought at least 5 different types of sippy cups and straw cups and I even bought a honey bear sqeezy straw that is used in feeding therapy.
But I never really wanted to start because I didn't want Dylan to lose any weight in the process! At 12 months we were switching to Whole Cow's Milk (fortified with powdered Whole Cow's Milk) and DYlan had an ear infection, so it wasn't time to pull the trigger.
But Mr. GG had a business trip all of last week so the nanny was going to be with Dylan longer than normal and I figured it was as good a time as any.
After sucking on all of the sippys and knowing that Dylan didn't really understand how to suck from a straw, I eventually decided on the Take & Toss sippys. Even though they don't have a valve, they are slower than some, they had a hard spout, and it was cheap to buy a bunch of them.
My ped said the bare minimum liquid that D should have in a day was 6 oz. On day 1, that's about all he took and so after a lot of debate, I decided to give him a bottle at bedtime (after starting with sippy). But each day was a little bit better than the last and I only did the night-time bottle for the first two days. (Dad also gave Dylan a morning bottle the first two days of this week because he somehow wasn't listening...hmm.) But Dylan is now 100% on sippy cup and is eating between 10 and 14 ounces a day. It's not an awesome amount, but it'll work for now.
There were a few consequences of bottle weaning:
1) Dylan started eating larger solids meals! Score! A typical meal is still only about 2-3 ounces of solids, but he's had a few meals over the past couple of weeks that have been closer to 6! I hope this continues.
2) He learned how to suck and swallow thinner liquid. I think this is why the volume is increasing so slowly. His brain had to somewhat re-learn how to swallow and he's had to learn how to control the faster flow of liquid. This was my #1 fear when weaning, but I think we're okay!
3) Dylan learned to suck! (on something besides his bottle) You know the pouches of food that most babies suck down in seconds? Well Dylan would just bite on the end of it and I'd squeeze a bit in his mouth (or we'd use a spoon). Now he'll suck down 2-3 ounces in 30 seconds. SO MANY CALORIES. SO LITTLE TIME! It's a revolution for us.
I actually don't think we'll stay with sippys for too long. Now that he's learned to suck, I think he can handle straw cups so we'll probably switch to those soon (just to see if he'll take more volume).
But for now...we're still a little worried that he's taking in less calories than before, but it's close. So bottle weaning is pretty much a success!