Does your baby fall asleep with the bottle and wakes for a bottle throughout the night? First of all, I want to let you know that you are not alone. This is one of the most common issues I see when I work with parents to teach their baby how to establish healthy sleep habits. So how do you break the bottle feeding to sleep habit?

Well up to this point, this is the only strategy that has worked to get your baby to sleep. If your baby isn’t bottle feeding to sleep, then they’ll likely cry the moment you place them in the crib, right? And I don’t know a single mom who wants to let her baby cry to sleep. 

So what’s the solution? How can you break the bottle feeding to sleep habit that your baby uses to get to sleep without the crying?

i

Table of Contents

$

WHY YOU SHOULD BREAK THE BOTTLE FEEDING TO SLEEP HABIT

$

WHY DOES MY BABY FALL ASLEEP WHILE BOTTLE FEEDING

$

HOW TO BREAK THE BOTTLE FEEDING TO SLEEP HABIT

$

GENTLE SLEEP TRAINING

$

WHEN TO START SLEEP TRAINING

$

GETTING HELP BREAKING THE BOTTLE FEEDING TO SLEEP HABIT

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. 

WHY YOU SHOULD BREAK THE BOTTLE FEEDING TO SLEEP HABIT

When you put your baby in bed at night, it’s fine to include the bottle in the bedtime routine if your baby is under a year old. Babies under one year of age do need that one last top off feed for the night to ensure that their tummies are nice and full to be able to make it through the night.

After 12 months of age, I recommend beginning the transition to the sippy cup. My favorite cup to transition from the bottle to a sippy cup is the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup. I like these cups because they’re durable and spill proof. However, they don’t have a spout. So if your baby prefers a spout, you can try something like the NUK Learner’s Cup.

 

But what you really want to avoid is giving her the bottle until she falls asleep or putting her in her crib with the bottle. You do not want your baby to fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth because if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she thinks she needs that bottle again to sleep.

By this point, you’re more than familiar with this process. She wakes up. You come and feed her to sleep with the bottle or put it into the crib. Then she sucks herself back to sleep with the bottle. And this process of waking up and feeding back to sleep can repeat itself multiple times throughout the night.

Why Does My Baby Fall Asleep While Bottle Feeding

Your baby has come to rely on the bottle as a “sleep prop” in order to get to sleep. And here’s why that’s the problem. We all go through multiple sleep cycles when we sleep. When we come out of one sleep cycle and go into the next, everyone comes to the surface of sleep. As adults, we’ve had plenty of practice. We know how to get ourselves back to sleep without really even knowing that we’ve had those brief wakings.

 But what you really want to avoid is giving your baby the bottle until they fall asleep or putting them in their crib with the bottle.

You do not want your baby to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth because if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she thinks she needs that bottle again to sleep.

By this point, you’re more than familiar with this process. They wake up. You come and feed them to sleep with the bottle or put it into the crib.

Then they suck themselves back to sleep with the bottle. And this process of waking up and feeding back to sleep can repeat itself multiple times throughout the night.

Free Sleep eBook, Guides & Schedules

 I help walk you through 7 strategies that have helped me teach hundreds of parents how to teach their babies to sleep independently in my Free Download. All you have to do is type in your name, email address, and child’s date of birth; and I will send you a PDF that you can download and access on your phone when ever you need it.

NEED MORE SLEEP?
Start with our FREE Ebooks, sample schedules and sleep guides, including our 7 Tips to Sleep Through the Night.

How to Break the Bottle Feeding to Sleep Habit

The first step to breaking the bottle feeding to sleep habit is changing the bedtime routine. You could start with a bath. Then dress your baby in their pajamas and sleep sack. My favorite sleep sacks are the Snuggy Buddy and the Tealbee. Once your baby is dress, give them the bottle and then read a story or two.

For extra comfort, I recommend putting a white noise machine in the bedroom. Matter of fact, we have a white noise machine in every bedroom in our house.

White noise can be great for you and your child when sleeping.

There are several times throughout the night where you will be triggered to wake up in the middle of the night and this may trigger your “fight or flight” response and mess up your whole night.

 

For some children, noise can trigger them and trick them into thinking that it is time to wake up. Avoid this, by drowning out that sound and sleep through the night.

After getting your baby dressed, you’ll offer them one last top off feed for the night (if they’re under a year old). This will help to make sure that their tummy is nice and full before going to sleep. 

Just make sure that your baby is staying nice and alert during their bedtime feed. You really want to make sure that they’re getting a good, full feed in and aren’t dozing off. 

Once they’ve been fed, you can add a few more activities in their bedtime routine to really make sure that you’re breaking the feeding to sleep association. This is the part of the bedtime routine that I like to read a book or two and then say good night to your baby and lay them down into their crib wide awake and fully alert. 

Wide awake? Sounds a little scary right? What do I do if they cry?

 

Gentle Sleep Training

Well mama, it’s time to start sleep training! Don’t worry, if you follow the guidelines from my gentle sleep training course Live Love Sleep Academy, I will give you the exact strategies and a step by step plan to deal with the two weeks that it will probably take to get your baby on track, and learn this new strategy for getting themselves to sleep.

Here’s the good news. You don’t have to let your baby cry it out!  Not only that, but you don’t have to leave the room. That’s right. You can stay with your baby if you like. We use much gentler approaches to teach your baby the skills needed to break the nightly bottle habit and begin sleeping through the night.

 

But your baby really does need to start connecting the steps that are involved in putting themselves to sleep independently so that they are not relying on that bottle. Otherwise, your baby will most likely keep waking for that bottle. It could go on well into the second year so you really want to make sure you break this habit now. 

You can go in and be present and comforting as your baby learns how to fall asleep independently. Your baby will learn a new way to fall asleep and they will start sleeping a solid night, which will be better for them. It may take about two weeks. But it is definitely for the best!

When to Start Sleep Training

Parents often ask me WHEN is the right time to start sleep training. Babies are old enough to learn how to self soothe a little after 3 months of age. So either your baby is currently going through the 4-month sleep regression or is over a year old, NOW is the perfect time to get started. 

My general guidance is that once a baby is about 15 lbs or 6 months of age, then they are generally going to be able to physically sleep through the night. It’s just a matter of teaching them how to do so and how to transfer those calories from the nighttime hours to the daytime hours.

 

 

The good news is that if your baby still needs a night feed, you can still teach them these healthy new independent sleep skills while keeping one or two night feedings. I generally work a feed or two into my sleep plans when working with babies under 6 months old.

And if you’re still feeding you toddler to sleep, that’s ok. It’s not too late to sleep train! I work with lots of toddlers to break the bottle feeding to sleep habit too.

Getting Help Breaking the Bottle Feeding to Sleep Habit

I have personally worked with hundreds of families who have tried on their own to break the bottle feeding to sleep habit but feel like nothing has worked for them. As a sleep coach, I have spent the last year perfecting how to customize sleep plans that will work for YOUR BABY and YOUR FAMILY. Every baby is different and they all response a little differently.

This is why I don’t believe in a one size fits all method. Instead, I provide two different gentle sleep training strategies to help your baby to learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep without the bottle so that you don’t have to figure this out on your own. 

If you want to learn some easy, proven strategies for getting your child to sleep and stay asleep without requesting the bottle, I’d love to help you!

Simply check out Live Love Sleep Academy to learn more about my gentle sleep training course. You are only a few nights away from amazing sleep!

 

And the best part is that you don’t have to leave your baby alone to cry it out. In fact, my Medina Method actually gives you the option to be right there next to your baby to comfort them as they leave the skills needed to fall asleep without needing to be fed to sleep anymore. 

If you want to learn some easy, proven strategies for getting your child to sleep and stay asleep without requesting the bottle, I’d love to help you!

Simply check out Live Love Sleep Academy to learn more about my gentle sleep training course. You are only a few nights away from amazing sleep!

About the Author

I’m Kaley Medina, the proud founder of Live Love Sleep®. I live in Texas with my husband and high school sweetheart, Zeke, along with our two wonderful children, Evalyn and Leo, and our furry companion, Louie.

My journey into the world of sleep consultancy began with the sleep struggles of my own daughter, Evalyn. From her early days, she proved to be a challenging sleeper, staying awake for waaaaaay too long and causing many sleepless nights. I tried everything I could think of, from feeding her to sleep to bouncing on a yoga ball until my legs ached to the delicate process of transitioning her to her crib without waking her. I even resorted to late-night vacuuming while wearing her in a baby carrier….needless to say, none of it work.

The constant sleep deprivation left me frazzled and unable to enjoy precious moments with my family. Desperate for a solution, I ventured into

the world of sleep training when Evalyn turned six months. To my surprise, gentler methods yielded incredible results, transforming our lives. Fueled by this success, I became a Certified Sleep Consultant and founded Live Love Sleep®.

As your Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I understand that a child’s sleep is influenced by various factors, including diet, sleep environment, routines, schedules, developmental milestones, and so much more. I craft personalized sleep plans that consider the bigger picture to solve your child’s sleep challenges comprehensively. What sets my services apart is the ongoing support I provide, ensuring your family reaches its sleep goals within weeks.

A former client described the experience as “utterly LIFE CHANGING.” I’m committed to helping parents like you and your child get the rest you need and deserve. Let’s work together to achieve better sleep and a happier, healthier family life.

Features

Kaley has been featured on numerous podcasts, on NBC, CBS, Yahoo!, Forbes, Texas Today, MindBodyGreen, WonderBaby.org, Work & Mother, Homes and Gardens, TinyBeans, and more!