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Your toddler now
Breaking old habits
Pacifier and bottle use often linger far into the second year. With moderate use, neither will harm your child at this age. But if she always has one or the other in her mouth, it may be time to modify or squash the habit. Here are some ideas for modifying or quitting these toddler pastimes:
Still uses a pacifier: Try limiting pacifier use to naps and nighttime, and praise your child when she manages to go without. Find ten effective ways to help your child give up the binky on our pacifier page.
Still uses a bottle: Start by limiting bottle contents to water, and serve milk and juice only in a cup. Allow the bottle only at the table or in the highchair, so your child doesn't carry it around all day or depend on it to get to sleep. Encourage comforting substitutes, like a blanket.
The hard-to-give-up bedtime bottle is definitely worth banning, because milk sitting on the teeth all night causes serious tooth decay. If you want to keep a bedtime bottle for now, it's fine, as long as it contains water. You can simply hand your child a bottle of water at bedtime and she may be fine with it. Or, ease the transition by substituting water for part of the milk very gradually, a little more each time.
See what our expert says about a toddler who refuses to give up the bottle.
When my child is very tired but won't fall asleep, I take my finger and gently slide it across the eyebrows toward the ears repeatedly, both sides, even a slide down the bridge of his nose. My mom used to do this to me and I remember falling asleep to it when I was little.
Frustrating though it may be when your child freaks out over a broken cracker, it's normal. She's developing strong ideas about the way things are supposed to work – and that's a good sign. Once a toddler figures something out (crackers look like this), she doesn't like it to change, especially when it's as comforting and familiar as a favorite snack.
Be patient. Eventually she'll learn to take the little disappointments and transitions of daily life in stride.
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