Experts recommend parents should stop using bottles by a baby’s first birthday. Switching from bottles to sippy cups can be challenging for some babies, though, so here are some tips for making the transition smooth.
When to Introduce a Sippy Cup
It’s a good idea to introduce a sippy cup of water when you introduce solid foods. The goal at this age is not that your baby will drink anything but to become familiar with the sippy cup and start associating it with mealtimes. By introducing – not forcing – the sippy cup early, you can make the transition easier. If you wait too long, your child can develop an attachment to his or her bottle that will be difficult to break.
How to Transition from Bottle to Sippy Cup
Sometimes it takes trial and error to get results, so don’t give up. To increase your chance of a smooth transition, try the following:
- As stated above, introduce your child to a sippy cup with solid foods. During the feeding, occasionally tip the cup’s spout to her mouth so she learns what it’s for.
- Don’t expect your baby to drink much or satisfy his thirst with the cup. This time is more about developing skills and habits than the function of the cup.
- Give your baby an empty sippy cup to play with. Allowing her to handle the cup might make her more likely to accept it full-time later. When your family is eating, let your baby have a sippy cup and try to get him to mimic you as you take a sip from your own cup.
NOTE: The earlier you introduce the sippy cup, the fewer tantrums you’ll have to deal with during the transition.
Whether you’re working with an infant or an older baby, remove the valve until your child gets the hang of drinking from a sippy cup. While the valve prevents spills, it makes the liquid harder to pull from the cup, which can lead to frustration.
There’s always the cold turkey method: Instead of slowly replacing bottles with sippy cups, eliminate all bottles at once and make the complete transition to sippy cups overnight. It might create some initial stress, but the transition will be much quicker.
Whichever method you use, follow-through will be key.
Best Sippy Cup to Transition from Bottle?
A flexible silicone spout will feel familiar to a bottle-fed baby, so it could make the transition easier. Many bottle manufacturers make sippy spouts compatible with their bottles to help the transition. Once your child is used to drinking from a silicone sippy spout, it will be easier to transition to other sippy cups.
Pediatric Partners has three locations to better serve our patients. The Evans office is at 411 Town Park Blvd.; the downtown Augusta office is at 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2600; and the new Grovetown office is at 5135 Wrightsboro Road. For more information about Pediatric Partners, call the office at 706-854-2500, visit PedPartners.com, or follow the Pediatric Partners of Augusta Facebook page.