Transitioning a child from breastfeeding to bottles is such a major milestone that the bottles-to-sippy-cups transition can present a surprise challenge for parents.
It’s hard, but exciting, to watch your child grow up from when they could barely keep their eyes open to wanting a sippy cup. They grow so fast that it feels like you brought them home from the hospital yesterday, right? I know. Let me help you with getting your child to leave the bottle and move on to the sippy cup.
You want to make sure you child is ready, but if you think they’re old enough, then you can do these steps as well. Keep in mind, despite some resistance to change, this isn’t a punishment, it’s your child growing up, and they will realize that when you do.
My pediatrician recommended that by my child’s first birthday, he should start using a sippy cup to help prevent tooth decay and dental issues.
1. Start with Soft and Engaging Cups
Try to start with cups that are soft to hold and have a soft mouthpiece. You want to give them something they can bite on if these chose to. My child loves to bite on the mouthpiece before drinking; so I like it to be soft, and I think he likes it too!
Try colorful cups with little fishes that swim around the outside of the cup. Try ones with puppy dogs or whatever cartoons your kid likes. You want them to look engaged in the activity, rather than handing them something bland and uninteresting.
2. Offer a Straw
Before you give your child a sippy cup, try offering them your straw. Since I was afraid my baby would suck too hard and choke on the liquid, I would place the straw in my cup, place my finger on the top to hold the liquid inside, and then bring the end of the straw to my child’s mouth, allowing him to suck out the fluid.
My child enjoyed this, and even after the liquid was gone, he’d grab my hand to get to the straw. I think this helps the child get used to another form of drinking before adding a sippy cup into the mix. It’s also adorable to watch!
3. Switch in the Middle of Feeding
Switching from bottle to sippy cup mid-feeding is a technique I tried that worked rather well. The idea is to start off feeding your baby with a bottle at feeding time. Once they finish what is in the bottle, they must drink the rest using their sippy cup. I thought for sure my kid was going to flip out. Instead, he just drank it like it was normal.
If you want to feed them without a bottle, you can try placing a nipple in their mouth. Once they start sucking on it, remove it and replace it with a sippy cup. I tested this after I wanted to stop the bottle completely, and it worked like a charm.
4. Try Different Cups and Drinks
Not every cup is going to work for your child. Some like large short cups that are comfortable to hold in their palms, while some babies prefer long thin sippy cups that they can wrap their fingers around.
Some children won’t like the soft mouthpiece, while others will. You will have to play around with sippy cups and see what your child prefers.
5. Have Fun with Sippy Cups!
Sippy cups have developed in new ways since we were kids. Ours were so dull and ugly, but now most stores sell them in all kinds of designs. You will find the perfect cup for your child, I promise; and in no time at all, they will be drinking in their sippy cup like a little pro!
What are your favorite sippy cup brands? Do you let your child drink from your straw? Have you tried starting at a younger age to introduce sippy cups?
Contributed by Shirley Wilson: Shirley is the proud mother of two beautiful children. She has been writing informational blog posts for parents for a few years and hopes she can help with your questions and concerns with parenting. You can visit her blog or follow her on Twitter.