Can a Baby Sleep with a Bottle?

A mom and dad feed a bottle of milk to their young baby

Getting an infant to sleep in their bed can feel extremely challenging, especially when you are sleep-deprived yourself. They often cry, fuss, and get upset when they’re not in the comforting embrace of a parent’s warm arms. Some parents may be tempted to hand their babies a bottle to soothe them to sleep in their bed.

What’s Wrong with Giving a Baby a Bottle In Their Bed?

While going to bed with a bottle may relax a child, it’s not good for their oral health. Instead of drinking their bottle in one sitting as they would in your arms, they may suck on and off for several hours. The near constant exposure to the milk allows its sugary particles to linger on their teeth, increasing their risk of tooth decay. “Baby bottle tooth decay” usually affects the upper front teeth.

If baby teeth fall out too early due to decay, it can negatively affect your child’s developing permanent teeth, ability to eat solid foods, speech, and confidence.

How to Help Kids Break Their Bottle Habit

Hungry babies younger than one who are bottle-fed pumped milk or formula should be held when offered a bottle. Take the bottle away when they are finished. Do not let them have their bottle in their bassinet or crib or let them crawl or walk around while holding a bottle.

For most older babies, encourage them to drink fluids from a sippy cup or cup with a straw by age 1. At this age, they don’t need to be drinking milk during the night for nutrition. Try replacing nighttime feeding rituals with another settling technique, like holding a stuffed animal or a special lovey blanket. If your baby is older than one and wakes up in the night wanting a drink, offer a cup of water and take it away once they’ve finished. Reserve milk for during the day. Brush their teeth 1-2 times a day.

Pediatric Dentistry at Storybook Smiles in Tyler, TX

Kids should come in for their first dentist’s visit at age 1 or when they get their first tooth, whichever happens first. Dr. Patrick and our team absolutely love working with kids and are committed to providing our patients with the best experience possible. If you have questions about our services or you want to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact us today!


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Storybook Smiles

Storybook Smiles