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 www.aap.org.