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Moving from Bottle to Sippy Cup

It’s not the easiest thing for a parent or baby when moving on from the bottle, although it is a necessity. With a bit of guidance, the transition to a “big boy” or “big girl” cup can be a lot easier on you both. We’ve got some tips and advice for parents on how to do just that.

Why is it Important?

While a bottle is most appropriate from the very early months, babies will need to eventually move onto a sippy cup, then a regular cup in time. Once a child starts developing teeth, a bottle isn’t the best choice anymore. This is due to the sugars that tend to gather at the teat, which then settles on the teeth and cause cavities. Because of this, dentists and pediatricians say you should always give liquids like juice through a sippy cup as they are loaded with sugar.

Prolonged use of a bottle can also lead to speech issues as teeth aren’t able to come in properly (same reason why thumb-sucking in children is a habit that parents are told to help cease).

When is the Right Time?

Doctors suggest introducing sippy cups from around six months of age, the same time when weaning starts. Your baby should be sitting up by themselves, able to hold their own bottle and open their mouth for food. This definitely doesn’t mean your baby should be drinking fully from a sippy cup from six months of age. Your baby is learning a lot of new skills at this stage in his or her life, so don’t try to push it. This is a long process that can take months. Try to get your child ready for getting rid of the bottle for good from around 12 months of age.

Pediatricians have suggested that the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to give the bottle the boot. Some parents go straight from breastfeeding to a sippy cup and leave out the bottle altogether. Ultimately, you will know when your child is ready.

How Should I Start?

Simply give one with water with meals to introduce it. It may get tipped, thrown about, and played with more than drank out of first, but that’s okay. They are getting adjusted to holding it and the motion of drinking from it. Don’t forget to show a few demonstrations how to use it yourself!

Take the sippy cup and put it in their mouth (not forcefully, of course). Tip it so that the spout touches the roof of their mouth. This can help stimulate the sucking action so they get the drink from the cup. Try water at first before moving onto juices and milk (otherwise, you may end up with a very sticky mess!)

Again, this isn’t something that should be forced. They may resist at first, and that’s okay. Just keep trying at mealtimes.

If you’re finding your child is having a hard time getting the hang of it and more ends up on their face than in their mouth, then try a small water bottle that has a straw attachment.

Remember, this is a long transition for many babies. This isn’t something they’re expected to grasp right away. If they do, great! But if you find your baby is particularly attached to their bottle, then go slow and steady. Replace one bottle a day with a sippy cup and grow from there.

Which Sippy Cup Should I Get?

Like most items for babies, there is a dizzying amount of choice out there when it comes to sippy cups. Start with a soft spout so it’s easy on your child’s gums and brand-new teeth.

You can get no-spill cups, but these often require a strong sucking action. So if your child just isn’t showing that yet, then you may need to put up with one that is a bit more messy, but will help get your child drinking!

Get cups with handles for babies just starting out as this will help them hold it.

Avoid a Bottle at Bedtime

Give your child a bottle at bedtime to help sooth them? This may be the last bottle you take away. If it is a comfort thing, this can be replaced with a special teddy bear or blanket.

If you can avoid this altogether, great! Some experts suggest this isn’t a great idea as it increases the risk of cavities and ear infections so to give a bottle before settling down for bed.

Share Your Experiences

What kind of stories do you have to tell about the transition from a bottle to a cup? Any tips or tricks of your own to share with other parents? Let us know in the comments, or talk to us over on Twitter!

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