Here's some information she found on the issue from On Call:
Dr. Claire McCarthy said:
"You should get him off the bottle. Children don't need much milk at this age. Before a year, breast milk or formula provides the bulk of their nutrition, even as they start expanding their diet. But after a year, kids should be eating a variety of other foods, and milk becomes less important (in fact, filling up on milk can sometimes prevent them from eating other healthy foods).
Nutritionally, milk is important for its protein and calcium, but your child can get calcium from yogurt and cheese, and in vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards, and mustard greens. Protein is available in other dairy products, meat, fish, beans, and grains. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, but 16 ounces a day is enough to meet a child's needs, and many other dairy products as well as cereals are supplemented with it.
My youngest child, Natasha, was breastfed exclusively and never made the transition to cow's milk — she simply doesn't like the taste. Now, at age 3, she'll take a sip here and there, but it adds up to a total of maybe eight ounces a month. So we push other dairy products instead, making sure she gets enough protein, along with calcium-fortified orange juice (which she loves), and daily multivitamins. She's a thoroughly healthy little girl.
Like most people who grew up being told to drink their milk, I certainly thought of it as something positive — and it is. But as a pediatrician I've seen how too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. Being on the bottle too long, especially when a child is allowed to sleep with it, can lead to rotting teeth. Also, kids who drink large amounts of milk may end up with anemia or constipation due to the direct effects of excess milk, and also because it can replace iron-rich protein foods, vegetables, and other roughage."~Dr. Claire McCarthy
Here's some advice I found on a mommy blog:
"Have you tried giving him a drinking cup instead? If you don't have any then tell him that "he is a big boy now and bottles are for babies" then take him to the store and ask him to choose his drinking cup. You want to get him involved because when you come back home he is going to help you throw out the old bottles. "
"My daughter was very attached to her bottle at night too. I tried sippy cups but the flow was always too fast. Then I found this one at Wal-mart : Grip n Sip, the cost at Wal-mart where I am is 97 cent. It has a no drip stopper that prevents it from flowing out freely. So if she's laying down it's not going to choke her. The liquid has to be sucked out."
Here are tips on weaning off bottle feeding from Revolution Health:
- Do not allow a toddler to carry the bottle around.
- Help transfer the toddler's attachment from the bottle to another comfort object like a stuffed animal, blanket or doll. For example, tie an empty bottle securely around the neck of a favorite stuffed animal or other comfort object, then remove the bottle once your toddler thinks of the new object as the source of comfort.
- Make changes in the toddler's routine, especially the rituals that are connected to bottle-feeding. For example, after a fall, comfort your toddler with hugs and attention rather than the bottle.
- Keep the toddler busy with new activities.
- Make a cup part of weaning.