Sippy cup time: how to help your kid ditch the bottle
If your baby has crossed nine months, you’re probably wondering about how much longer they need to use a bottle. Well, good news – you’re right on time to begin an exciting new phase for your little one!
A baby who can easily crawl, and maybe even stand up, is probably ready to try their very first sippy cup. While not quite a regular cup, a sippy cup is the next best step to wean your child off the bottle and help them become a more independent toddler.
Why should my baby transition from a bottle?
Picture courtesy: Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
Drinking milk from a bottle means that your baby’s tiny teeth come into constant contact with the sugar from their drink. This overexposure can lead to early tooth decay. Excessive use of the bottle can also mess with your child's teeth alignment, lead to picky eating, poor nutrition, and ear infections. All of this can be avoided by gradually moving to a sippy cup.
A sippy cup will help your child to drink their milk or water without spilling, but won’t remove the air bubbles like a bottle. It may have a spout, a straw, or just a plain rim. Most sippy cups have handles that your toddler will like to clutch onto.
Sippy cups may be a great next step, but after nearly a year on the bottle, it won’t always be easy to change the habit. Don’t worry, there are a number of things you can do to make this change smooth and even fun for your child!
Making a smooth transition to a sippy cup
1. Find the best alternative. There are many types of sippy cups. Ones with silicone or soft spouts, ones with hard spouts, straw cups, or normal steel cups with rims. Keep trying alternatives till you find the one best suited for your child.
2. Try funky cups to get your child’s attention. Drinking from a sippy cup does not have to be a dull and plain affair. Get a colorful cup with lovely designs and patterns on them. This will surely at least get your child interested in holding the cup! Then drinking from it is never far away.
3. Remove the valve of the cup. Yes, this means a lot of spillage, so be prepared for that. But this could make the suction a lot easier and help your child get used to the motions of drinking from a cup. Put the valve back on once your child has gotten the hang of it.
4. Yummy drinks are a good option. Your child is used to getting milk and water in their bottle, which they may be used to and even find boring. So you could temporarily reserve the sippy cup for something more exciting like fresh juice. This will help them associate a fond memory with the cup which will help them gradually transition with ease.
5. Make a game of it. Since children love games, making this one might just do the trick! Teach your child how to carry the cup without spilling the water and how to move their wrist up and down while bringing their face close to the cup to drink it. As they get better at playing, they'll learn to use the cup too!
6. Bring in the FOMO. Even your little one can feel the fear of missing out when they see other children their age doing something they are not doing! So tell them how their friends are doing it or how kids at their day care may be using the cup. This might just get your child a little more interested in it.
7. Start with one feeding per day. You could talk the cup up and get them to try it once a day. Over time, you could make them drink more from the cup.
8. Quit cold turkey. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to quit cold turkey. If you think that this is a suitable option for your child, don’t be afraid to remove all the bottles by the time they are a year old and dive right into sippy cups.
9. Consistency is key. Your child might be unwilling to let go of the bottle initially, and might even throw a tantrum or go on a hunger strike. But as the parent, you simply need to be persistent and keep trying.
Change takes time!
While some children take longer than others to make the transition, in time, almost every child will make this natural shift.
Meanwhile, its important to remember that the bottle was a huge source of comfort for your baby. So be patient, gentle, and find other ways to soothe and comfort your little one as you help them take this important step in their journey.