Some parents may delay weaning their child off the bottle if he or she is stubborn and attached to it, and others put their 2-year-olds to bed with an 8-ounce bottle of milk to make bedtime easier.
However, this practice has been shown to lead to obesity in children as young as 5 years old, according to researchers at Temple University and Ohio State University.
“Children who were still using a bottle at 24 months were approximately 30 percent more likely to be obese at 5.5 years, even after accounting for other factors such as the mother’s weight, the child’s birth weight and feeding practices during infancy,” said co-author Robert Whitaker.
Authors of the study noted that 8 ounces of whole milk account for about 12 percent of the total daily calorie intake for a 2-year-old girl who is of average height and weight. So, using the bottle as a way to make kids go to bed without a struggle may be effective for its immediate purpose, but can also cause problems for that child later on.
The researchers recommended that parents begin to wean their children off the bottle to a sippy cup around 1 year of age.