Has the time come to say sayonara to the bottle and hello to a sippy cup? After getting the whole breastfeeding or bottle feeding routine down for a few months, you may be wondering just that.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning baby off the bottle before 18 months of age. This is because extended bottle use can cause tooth decay. It may also encourage your child to drink more milk than they need. This transition is important because your child may skip meals if they think a bottle is available. When should you start training? A baby who can sit up in a high chair on their own is typically a sign they are ready to drink from a sippy cup.
The AAP recommends starting out by substituting a cup for their midday bottle when they are around age one. Sippy cups will be your new best friend. They minimize spills, while allowing your child to have full control at the same time. When looking for the perfect sippy cup, the American Dental Association recommends sippy cups that have a snap on/ screw on lid that has a spout, but no valve. Often, ‘no spill’ sippy cups require sucking, which makes them a glorified bottle. Remember the goal is to sip, not suck! Cups made with silicone are also great because they’re easy on baby’s teeth and gums. Looking to avoid spills? Training cups that fit in the palm of baby’s hand and weighted bases will help reduce them from happening!
Once you’ve got the sippy cup down, work on transitioning to a regular cup. Dentists say using cups with a spout may contribute to higher risk of tooth decay. To make this transition easier, start by putting a small amount of liquid in a regular cup. Learning to use a cup for the first time is no easy foot, so be patient! A few weeks after your little one gets acquainted with the cup, begin substituting their morning and evening bottles, too! Keep in mind your baby may take the cup more readily if it’s filled with a familiar fluid, such as breast milk or formula. It’s okay to leave the bedtime bottle for last because it’s often the one your child has trouble giving up the most. Consistency is key and the more your child practices the better they will become.