You must know as parents, although it might be hard for you to persuade yourself to do so, that at this age if the growth curve of your baby is normal he no longer needs a bottle at night for his physical development. Be aware of the sense of need here that refers to a biological need and not the sense given when someone expresses a strong desire for something. The trick here is to diminish the desire of the baby who has grown used to having a bottle every night although he does not need it.
How to stop this habit ?
1. Progressively reduce the amount of milk compensating it with water or reduce the time length of breast feeding. In time he will no longer associate going to sleep with having a bottle or the contact of his mother’s breast.
2. Have the father intervene : If the association of bottle feeding (and obviously breast feeding) and sleep holds only with the mother then the intervention of the father is truly effective to discourage the baby to claim a drink and incites him to go back to sleep on his own. He can also explain that the mother sleeps at night and the she will not come for this particular reason. He can then follow the first advice if need be.
3. Do not feed him the bottle when laying him down in bed : avoiding this will cause him to stop associating that particular time to feeding as one single event.
This was one of the hardest things for me and honestly I would not say I succeeded. I continued to wake up every night and eventhough it was tiring, I thought it was easier than “teaching” my baby otherwise. Maybe I was not wise…