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How do I prevent my child from using the bottle any more?

Q: I have a little boy who is 3 years old with Down Syndrome and he is going to school. Everyone is telling me that I should not give the bottle anymore but it’s hard. I am trying to do this but I need some tips because I don't know what to do? Right now I am giving him a ‘sippee’ cup but he cries because he wants his bottle. Do you think it’s the right time to take the bottle away? If you think it’s the right time, can you give me some tips?

A:I think the most important matter is to ensure that your child gets adequate nutrition, sleep and affection and play time with the parents. Your own reading of the situation is better than the advice that everybody gives. Since your child has been identified as having Down Syndrome, you realise that he need not always be treated as other children are. Let him use the bottle for milk, but give him something interesting to drink, like fresh orange juice, in a sippee cup. If he likes the taste, he may learn to use the cup. Increase the use of the cup gradually, but do not force him to use it especially at the end of the day and when he is tired and sleepy. The school you have chosen for him will have to give him special attention occasionally and they must be sure not to insist that he does reading and writing. We do not advise reading and writing for any child of 3, but the schools and some ambitious parents are going ahead with this fast forward type of curriculum! He will have to be allowed to proceed at his own pace. Make sure that you put him in a preschool setting that will allow him to make friends and be happy.

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