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Pediatricians Can Help Parents Wean Babies Off the Bottle


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends weaning bottle-fed infants completely by 15 months, but many parents bottle-feed much longer. Prolonged bottle-feeding has been associated in some studies with excessive milk intake and iron deficiency due to displacement of iron-containing food choices.

A study, "Office-Based Intervention to Reduce Bottle Use Among Toddlers: TARGet Kids! Pragmatic, Randomized Trial," published in the August issue of Pediatrics (published online July 12), looked at a trial program at one pediatric practice to help parents wean their 9-month-old infants. In addition to standard nutrition guidance for the 9-month well-child visit, parents in the intervention group were given a sippy cup and instructions for using the cup to transition their child from the bottle. The parents also received additional education about the risks of continued bottle use, including tooth decay, iron depletion and poorer performance in school. The intervention required fewer than five minutes to administer. After following the children to age 2, no significant decrease was noted in levels of iron deficiency among the intervention group. However, this group was significantly less likely to be using a bottle during the day or in bed at age 2, and as a group had been weaned 4 months earlier than the control group.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit