Just when you and your little one were starting to get accustomed to bottles, it is time to start transitioning to a sippy cup. Bottles may have seemed like such a pain at first with finding the right one for your little one, all the daily washing, and the ugly drying racks on your counter, but now, they look pretty simple with the repetitive practice you have gotten over the last several months. However, now it is time for yet another transition. Transitioning to a sippy cup can go really well and may not be as bad as you think. Daily Mom is here to help you with ideas on what you can do to help your little one ease into this new concept of drinking.
What is a sippy cup?
Sippy cups help to train your child on how to drink from a cup with little to no spilling. Sippy cups usually are made from plastic and have snap or screw-on lids. There are a ton of options for sippy cups, colors and designs, handles or no handles, and even different types of spouts. There is no right or wrong way to choose a sippy cup and you may need to try out a couple different versions and brands to see which one your baby likes best! Think of using sippy cups as helping your little with their sense of independence while also keeping the spills and messes to a minimum for mama!
Why transition to a sippy cup?
Let’s start with why your baby should be transitioning to a sippy cup. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning your child from the bottle before 18 months of age. Prolonged use of the bottle after 18 months of age can lead to issues such as cavities and tooth decay and may also be contributing to them drinking more than they actually need. Baby bottle tooth decay is a real thing and is caused by long-term, frequent exposure to sugary liquids such as fruit juices, formula, milk, etc. while using a bottle.
Getting your baby off the bottle can be instrumental in healthy gum and tooth growth! Some of you might might be gasping right now because maybe your baby is over 18 months and still using a bottle or you know how securely attached your sweet baby may be to his/her bottle. Don’t freak! We are going to help you with some ideas on transitioning to a sippy cup
When should my baby be transitioning to a sippy cup?
There is no exact age or milestone that your little one needs to hit to determine when to start using a sippy cup, but if they are over 18 month start transitioning now. The introduction age can start as early as 6 months, however they may not have the skill or coordination to master the sippy cup just yet. A good idea would be to start phasing in the sippy cup early on to help them get used to that type of cup at snack or meal time. Don’t stress if they don’t take to this new foreign object immediately. It is going to take daily exposure for them to get used to having this cup as part of their routine.
How to transition to a sippy cup
How to transition to a sippy cup is not going to be perfect and it may feel overwhelming depending on how your little one does. Think of transitioning to a sippy cup as having a habit, you can get rid of the bottles cold turkey, or gradually ease into no bottles by weaning them out. Whatever option you choose, follow through is going to be critical in how well this could or could not go. Let’s talk through how each of these scenarios might work for you.
Cold Turkey Transitioning – Poof and they are gone! Is it really that easy? Yes, it is really that easy to eliminate the bottles. The hard part is going to be sticking to your guns and not caving when your little one refuses to drink out of the sippy cup, throws it across the room or starts throwing fits when their bottle is no longer part of their day to day routine. The overall idea is that your child will start to understand that the sippy cup is their new way to receive milk. Your behavior needs to stay consistent and provide the cup at all meals and snacks. It make take a couple days to get them used to no bottle, but you might be suprised how quickly your little one catches on!
Gradual Transitioning – For some moms and dads cold turkey transitioning might sound absolutely terrifying. Transitioning to a sippy cup gradually might work out better for your family knowing how attached your little one is to their bottle and the daily bottle routine. To gradually transition means to slowly swap out daily bottles with their new sippy cup.
Start with the mid-day bottles first. Some experts and parents agree this is usually the easiest place to start and might give you more success. Every few days or once a week get rid of a bottle until eventually all your child is using are their sippy cups. The night time bottle should be the last to go because for a lot of babies this is part of their bedtime routine and provides comfort for them as they head off to bed. Whatever you do, DO NOT let your child take their sippy cup to bed. The pooling of liquids in their mouth overnight can lead to tooth decay.
How Long Will Transitioning To A Sippy Cup Take?
It would be nice if there was a magic number on how many days, weeks or months it would take transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup. Unfortunately, this is going to look different for every child depending on what method is used to wean your baby from their bottle. You may need to try a couple different sippy cups and try experimenting with your elimination tactics in order to get it right. Just like every other parenting decision, transitioning to a sippy cup is up to you on which approach you try. Just remember, doing so before 18 months of age is best and will make your life easier in the long run.
Transitioning to a sippy cup is a milestone for your little one and should be celebrated. Like many other parenting decisions, this might be a trial and error process. It may not be easy to decide how you are going to approach this matter, but at the end of the day, following through on whatever you decide is going to be critical in how well this goes. So put on your celebration hat and fun music and get excited that your baby is growing up!
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