When I was a new mom with a tiny baby in my arms, I was totally clueless about feeding beyond nursing. So, as any mom would, I read everything I could about starting a baby on solids, which is also the same time that experts say parents should think about transitioning baby from bottle to sippy cup.
It hadn’t occurred to me to consider upgrading from bottle to sippy cup since I was mostly worried about filling a growing tummy with good, nourishing foods. But as a child gets older, their drinking needs will change along with the way they eat. And unless you’ve ever had the experience, you might not know that switching a baby away from a bottle to sippy cup or just a plain old cup can sometimes be a battle
Here are a few things to keep in mind when transitioning your child from a bottle to a sippy cup.
Let Them Play
Before you even bust out the sippy cup and begin filling it with water, try giving it to your child as a toy. Letting your child play around with the sippy cup and realizing that it is fun and maybe even feels good to gnaw on is a great way to introduce a sippy cup as something new and dazzling.
Only Use It at Meal Time
Once your child has warmed up to the idea of a sippy cup – even if they don’t fully grasp the idea yet – try using it only at meal times and putting it away afterward just as you would the dishes and leftovers.
Help Your Child to Use It Correctly
If your child is anything like mine, they will try to bang the spout against the table to see if water comes out. (Spoiler: it does and it’s messy) Try gently correcting this by putting the spout carefully up to their mouth so they know what to do with it. Don’t make a big deal about it, just keep trying.
If Water Doesn’t Work, Try Milk
If your child is used to drinking formula or breast milk out of a bottle then start with that as a beginner drink from the sippy cup. Keeping with a familiar taste and texture will help your child to feel like the sippy isn’t so bad or dramatically different from a bottle.
Be Your Child’s Cheerleader
Be as positive as you can be about the transition and celebrate even the tiniest momentum away from the bottle. Even if you have to cut off the bottle cold turkey, using positive reinforcement will let your child know that the sippy cup is an experience that is safe, fun, and what will soon be the norm in your house.
Only Use the Bottle At Night
If you’re having a super hard time convincing your child to use a sippy cup, you could try a compromise wherein you only allow the bottle to come out at bedtime as a soothing good night routine. Nothing wrong with that!
Remember, every child is different and some kids will be totally cool with dropping the bottle in favor of a sippy cup and others will hold on to that bottle as if it is the battle of their lives. Go easy and take your time and we promise that eventually, the transition will happen and you’ll all be happy.