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Getting Baby From the Bottle to Sippy Cup

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a baby holding a sippy cup

6 to 9 Months: Baby, Meet Sippy Cup

  • Give your child a sippy cup and let her become familiar with it. Shu recommends starting out with one that has a soft spout similar to a bottle nipple. A design that the baby can hold herself might be helpful too.

  • Make it fun, says Keels. Pick a cup with a cool design, or let your baby help select the one she wants.

  • Put a familiar beverage that your child likes, such as formula or water, in the cup; this isn’t the time to introduce a new flavor, says Shu. And don’t bring out the cup when your child is either ravenous or tired.

  • If your baby rejects the cup at first, don’t force it. Put it away and try again in a week. If he still pushes it away, try a different style of cup. Some babies like straws, or just regular cups; it’s simply trial and error to find one that works, says Shu.

9 to 12 Months: Start Transitioning

  • By this age, your baby should be sampling lots of pureed and finger foods, and moving toward eating three complete meals a day, depending on his nap schedule, says Shu. As babies start to eat more solid foods, their formula intake naturally goes down, easing the transition from a bottle to a cup.

  • At 9 months, begin swapping one of your baby’s bottles with a cup, says Shu. It’s usually easiest to start with one of the daytime bottles. Once your baby adjusts - give it about a week - try swapping another daytime bottle with a cup, and so on, until your baby is using only cups during the day.

  • The first and last bottle of the day are usually the hardest to quit, says Shu; she recommends making sure that your baby is very comfortable with using sippy cups during the day before trying to quit those bottles. When your baby is ready, transition those feedings from a bottle to a cup one at a time.

  • Be consistent and firm. “Once you take it away, don’t bring it back, or your baby will continue to negotiate,” says Shu. Keep the bottles out of sight while you are transitioning, and get them out of the house once your baby is using cups exclusively.

12-plus Months: Bye-bye, Bottle

  • At one year, most babies drink about 24 ounces of milk or formula a day, ideally all from a cup. If your baby is having a hard time completing the transition, try always putting her favorite drink, i.e. milk, in the cup, and a less-preferred offering, i.e. water, in the bottle.

  • A good practice to adopt now is to offer milk or juice with meals and water with snacks and in-between mealtimes, Keels recommends. Just as you don’t want your baby pulling from a bottle of milk all day and night, you don’t want her to continually sip from a cup of juice or milk either.

  • With one good habit established, why not start another? “I always recommend the last thing in the mouth should be a toothbrush,” says Shu.

 
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