Transitioning your baby from bottle to sippy cup

September 08, 2014

One day you're bringing your newborn home from the hospital and the next thing you know your little bundle of joy is teetering around the house with a bottle in hand. Experts recommend switching babies to sippy cups around the time they learn to walk, but it can be a tricky task. If your baby is attached to a bottle, here are some techniques to gradually switch him or her over to a sippy cup.

Why the switch is necessary
First time parents may not understand the rush to transition their child to a sippy cup, but there are a number of health reasons associated with the change. According to What to Expect, children who are constantly sipping from a bottle may develop dental problems, especially if they take liquids to bed with them. Transitioning to sippy cups can also get children eating more solid foods, which will balance out their diet. Finally, it's easier to break a child younger than one of their bottle habit. You don't want to wait for the terrible twos to take away your child's bottle, as it could be a serious battle.

Start slowly
Most pediatricians recommend introducing a sippy cup between 6 and 12 months. When you decide it's time to make the switch, the first thing you need to do is show your baby how to use a sippy cup. Parents.com recommends removing the valve out of a non-spill cup and dripping some liquid into your child's mouth. You might need to try a few different cups to find one that your baby will use. Some children will prefer a cup with handles, while others might like to use a straw. Start off by just using a sippy cup for one meal a day. You can increase use of the sippy cup as your child gets familiar with it. Before you know it, you'll be saying bye-bye to the bottle.

Celebrate the milestone
If your baby doesn't want to part with the bottle, you can encourage him or her by making a big deal about using a sippy cup. Parents.com suggests you celebrate the milestone with lots of praise and a fun new cup. A spill-proof good2grow bottle with your child's favorite character makes a great reusable present. If children understand that this step makes them a big kid, it will be that much easier to leave the bottle behind. You can also show your kids that their friends are using sippy cups to make the transition smoother.

Find a new comfort object
For many toddlers, the bottle is a comfort object. If you're met with tears and screams when you take away the bottle, try to find a new toy for your child. Pick a small stuffed animal or blanket and offer it to your child when you take away the bottle. However, Parents.com warns not to let a sippy cup become the replacement, or you'll have the same problem when you transition to regular cups. Try to limit sippy cups to meal times.

Toss the bottles
Once you're getting into a habit of using sippy cups, it's time to part with the bottles for good. Make a point to throw away bottles, or at least store them out of your child's sight. If kids don't have the option of a bottle, they're less likely to fuss. Some parents have their kids throw the bottles away as part of their first birthday. If you make sippy cups a fun part of growing up, your children won't resist the change or miss the bottle.

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