Development FAQ: 18-24 months – Other Advice

My 19 mth daughter will not take milk from a beaker, only a bottle.

My daughter will not take milk from a beaker but will take water from a beaker (she doesn’t have juice).

She is 20 months old and weighs 11 kilos. She has 3 regular meals a day, plus healthy snacks and has been having 7oz milk from a bottle in the morning and evening in a bottle with a teat. As she was born small for a full term baby at 5lb she always drank a lot of milk in the early days. We began breast feeding and then started bottle feeding at 6 weeks old.

I am very conscious from reading Gina’s books that she shouldn’t be having a teat but am having trouble weaning her off it. She doesn’t have a dummy and I am sure she likes the comfort of teat. She wants her milk but as soon as she sees the spout she refuses it or spits the milk on the floor. I desperately need some tips as I’m really worried about her not having any milk at all.

She will not have milk on cereal either as she will only eat it dry. She already has yoghurts and custard in her diet, plus cheese. She sleeps well from 7.30pm-7.30/8am and eats a wide variety of food. Is it better for her to have the minimum requirement of milk in a bottle or not at all and try and make it up with other food?

I’d prefer her to have milk if possible. I tried tonight with a beaker spout again and tried giving it to teddy and myself but my daughter wasn’t having any of it and went to sleep with no milk. Should I persevere or will she give it up herself in time? I also tried a normal cup and a sports flask. Again she will take water but not milk.

She sleeps for 2 hours between 12.30-2.30pm and dropped her afternoon milk a long time ago. The night-time routine is bath, then milk downstairs in a bottle and a story. She has a sleeping bag and she settles herself to sleep and doesn’t wake during the night usually unless she is ill.
Many thanks

Getting a child to drink milk from a cup at this age can take a long time. I think the comfort of a teat is probably of more interest than the milk itself. As a nanny I encountered the problem when I removed the evening bottle and replaced it with a cup. The little girl never drank milk again, unless disguised as a shake or smoothie. Because I was conscious of her loss I made sure, as you are, that she had plenty of dairy products in her diet. I suggest that you keep trying. At this age I would persevere with using an open cup. There is one on the market, a “Doidy” cup which is slanted enabling a small child to drink small amounts herself without having to tip her head right back. You may have been given a child’s china mug, possibly with two handles which could be used now. Fill with a small amount of milk and encourage her to be a “big girl”. Tell her she can drink from a mug like Mummy and Daddy. Keep trying in the morning, when you know she will be hungry. If she won’t try it, remove it without question and offer her water if you feel she is thirsty. Try making her a fruit smoothie at breakfast. Banana, natural yoghurt, milk and orange juice can be blended together to form a drink which can be given in a cup. Many cookbooks for small children include recipes for delicious combinations. Your daughter maybe tempted by a novel approach. Serve her milk and yoghurt-based drinks in decorated small plastic beakers which are usually sold as patio or beach items. It would seem from her diet that she is receiving plenty of calcium in other forms. The daily minimum amount of milk recommended for your daughter’s age is 350mls (12ozs). It would be preferable if she had up to 500mls (17ozs). But this daily total can include other dairy products. 210mls (7oz) of milk can be substituted with one pot of yoghurt 125g (4.5ozs) or 30g (1oz) cheese. If she begins to accept milk “hidden” in shakes and smoothies and continues with her varied diet she is easily going to have her daily requirements. It may take a little more thought and preparation but in the long term will benefit your daughter. Getting her weaned from her bottle is your main priority.