Regardless of when you decide to make the transition from bottle to sippy cup with your baby or toddler, the reality is that it has to happen sometime. In this post, I will share how I transitioned my son from the bottle to the sippy cup, and my tips for you to try!
In my opinion , the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be. When our son was a baby, he was both, used and bottlefed. At his one-year check-up, the pediatrician recommended this was a good time to take the bottleaway, and introduce the sippy cup, given the negative effects bottles can have on teeth growth, and such. Keep in mind, sippy cups can be introduced sooner than the one year mark. I knew I did not want to give him the bottle too long, so we agreed with the doctor’s recommendation of cutting out the bottle, but I did continue to nurse.
Before having kids, and even while my son was still using the bottle, I had the notion that taking the bottle away was best done by a process of weaning, similar to nursing. However, when I asked the pediatrician, she advised that it was better to just take it away it all together. Initially, I was surprised by this, but when she explained that it’s harder for babies to let go of the bottle, when they are able to have it some times, and not other times. Cutting off the bottle, and giving only a sippy cup (except when nursing), is more clear and consistent, so they can better make the adjustment – giving in and letting them have the bottle just because they are throwing a fit is not going to help.
I know you’re probably thinking that this method sounds harsh and mean, but in my experience it worked better than I expected. Granted, I was still nursing so this could have made the transition slightly easier for my son. However, he was not exactly fond of the sippy cup in the beginning, so it wasn’t a completely smooth process. Even though he wasn’t crying inconsolably for the bottle, he was quite stubborn about drinking from a sippy cup. Despite his stubborness, I wanted to be consistent, and not confuse him by giving him a bottle. So with that in mind, let’s discuss how I helped my son make the transition from bottle to sippy cup.
FIND THE RIGHT CUP
So first, you want to make sure your baby’s first sippy cup is one that will make for an easier transition. To get my son used to the sippy cup, I got the kind that has a very soft, spout (as opposed to the hard plastic ones), and also has a more narrow base, in the hopes that it would be easier for him to suck on. I also thought it would be easier to tranistion with this type of cup because the spout is more similar to a nipple. Depending on what you think would be better for your baby, you can choose if you want one with or without handles, for their first cup. Of course you can introduce a variety of cups (straws, spoutless, etc.) as your child gets older.
CONSISTENCY & REPETITIVENESS
I’ve mentioned consisency a number of times, as far as being consistent in not giving the bottle once you’ve made the decision to move onto sippy cups only. However, there is also another aspect of consistency that seemed to abade my son’s stubborness to take the sippy cup, and that’s offering the sippy cup several times throughout the day. Even if you are only offering small amounts at a time, or just trying to get your baby to take a quick drink. With my son, I would try to give him the sippy cup when he was somewhat distracted, for instance, playing in his jumper. I would hold the cup (rather than try to give it to him to hold), and encourage him to take a drink. Of course you don’t want to be forceful, but I would offer it to him repeatedly, so he could get used to the feel of the spout.
I found that this method was more effective than just giving him a cup of milk, and expecting him to drink it as he would a bottle. It wasn’t long (maybe a week or so) before he was drinking from the sippy cup with no problem!
As I pointed out, I was still nursing during this transition, so I can’t definitevely attest to whether it is more or less difficult if you do not nurse, or are no longer nursing when making the switch from bottle to sippy cup. I also am not sure if nursing exclusively makes for a different experience when introducing the sippy cup, but I will soon find out, since my daughter rarely takes a bottle!
So let’s recap some key points to keep in mind!
- The longer you wait to nix the bottle, the harder it may be for your child to let it go.
- Once you make the decision to cut out the bottle, stick to it.
- Choose the right cup for beginning the transition, offering different cups as they grow.
- Be consistent and offer the sippy (healthy beverages) several times throughout the day.
Well that’s my two cents on the bottle-to-sippy cup topic! I hope it has shed some light on what you can try to make the transition smoother for you and your little one!
Share your experiences and questions below!
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