Transition From Bottle to Sippy Cup in 3 Simple Steps
How to Transition from Bottle to Sippy Cup or Training Cup
The bottle to sippy cup transition can be a scary change for babies (and parents)! Somewhere towards the end of baby's first year, most parents start moving from a bottle to a sippy cup. I haven't met too many parents, however, who didn't worry about the transition. After all, babies (and children in general) thrive on routine--it's natural to wonder if throwing a new element into the mix is going to disrupt that.
Making the leap doesn't have to cause undue stress--it's just a matter of finding out what works best for both you and your little one. This three-step plan (I call it the "sippy cup secret") worked very well for me; perhaps these easy steps will get your baby drinking from a sippy cup in no time!
How Old Is Your Little One?
What is your baby's current age? Or how old were they when you transitioned?
The Big-Boy Sippy Cup: Was He Ready?
I know I wasn't ready for a sippy cup quite just yet!
The only reason I wanted to move my son from a bottle to a sippy cup when I did is because his daycare required it; I certainly was in no hurry to transition. He had just moved from the infant to the toddler class (most babies transition to this class just before or just after they turn one year old), and all children must move from a bottle to a sippy within 30 days. I won't lie--I panicked. We had tried a sippy cup here and there before to no avail--he liked them OK, but more so for chewing than for drinking. I should've known better, since I've worried like this before.
About six months prior, I had to break him of the best newborn swaddle I'd found, simply because he got far too big for it. I wasn't ready. I assumed he wasn't ready. I took off a few days of work and prepared for the worst, sure that I wouldn't be getting any sleep for awhile. I laid him down that night, with arms free, and waited. And waited. And waited. The cries never came.
I watched him on the monitor, wonderfully stretched out and peaceful-looking, until I fell asleep that night. The next thing I knew, it was morning and I wondered why I obsessed for nothing. Often, when we as parents aren't ready for something, our not-so-little babies have different plans. The "sippy cup secret" helped me to panic less, and enjoy the transition more.
The Sippies I Tried Throughout the Transition
From left to right, here are the sippy cups I tried as I weaned from bottles (which, by the way, were the Playtex Drop Ins Bottles. The first, the Playtex First Sipster Spill-Proof Cup, is a sippy loved by so many parents, so I felt sure it would work for me. It didn't--my son LOVED to chew on it, but didn't get that you had to tip it back to get anything out of it. We tried this one for many months, thinking he would surely get it eventually, but he never did.
I wondered if he saw the colored-container (and not the "white" of the milk) and that was throwing him off. I then tried the Tilty Sippy Cup, since it got excellent reviews and was available in a clear cup. He actually DID try to drink from this one, but this cup is a bit more advanced and doesn't have a valve, therefore, it was messy to say the least. Not only did he practically choke on the milk/water, but he was at the "throwing" stage, and this cup definitely is not a no-spill cup! He did at least try it, so I was encouraged.
At the insistence of a few parents, I next tried the Nuby No Spill Flip-it Sippy Cup. Actually, my daycare recommended it as well, explaining that soft straws were the next step for babies who didn't respond to the more elementary sippies. We struck out here, as well. The straw was completely foreign to him and using meant he had to master an entirely different skill he had not even experienced yet. The sucking concept with this type of sippy cup was completely different from a bottle, plus, he didn't understand not to tip the cup.
A-ha! It finally click to me and the "sippy cup secret" just about landed in my lap. We would be able to wean him from the bottle, after all.
Simply change one aspect of the sippy cup at a time so you don't overwhelm your child.
Step One: Nuby Staged Bottle
The first step to go from bottle to sippy
Colors vary with this ingenious cup -- my baby is a boy, but I would've paid good money for 20 pink cups if I had to. That's how much I love this sippy cup!
Since I had a bit of success with the clear sippy cup I tried, I knew if I could give him something similar to a bottle, he'd probably at least try it out and take a drink. This sippy is great because it has a bottle top--so it's familiar to your child--but with removable handles to get him or her used to a sippy cup. Admittedly, I had to fool my baby into trying this. I started with his normal bottle, then quickly did a bait-and-switch with this one, mid-feeding. He sucked for a bit, realized what was going on and somewhat freaked out, but only for two seconds. He realized he was too hungry to fight it, and after all, it is sort of a bottle...SUCCESS! We used this one for several weeks, and mid-way through took off the removable handles so he could get used to the curved bottle that most sippies have.
Step Two: Nuby Sipper - Slowly moving towards a true sippy cup
This sippy cup has the soft spout that your baby or toddler has grown accustomed to, but it's a slightly different shape to get him or her used to even more changes.
Just like I did with the first sippy, I only wanted to change a few minor variables as I moved to the next step in bottle weaning. The Nuby No-Spill sippy has a similar shape to the last sippy cup, although it's a bit fatter. The spout is also close to the other, except it's slightly oblong. This gets your baby's mouth used to something slightly different, while still being familiar and not-so-scary. The first time he placed it in his mouth, he was confused but got over it very quickly--I was amazed!
Step Three: Nuk Learning System Sippy Cups - Leak-free sippy cups in fun colors
These sippy cups are a great next step once you child makes that initial leap from bottles. After mastering this sippy, your little one can usually easily move either to a straw sippy or to a cup. Bonus: these sippies truly don't leak!
Alot of parents stop at Step Two, but I wanted to take it one step further. Since the ultimate goal is to transition from a sippy cup to a real cup, a rimmed sippy cup is the next logical choice. These have a stay-tight lid that doesn't leak. I like that the valve is easily removed, too; when the time comes, I can take that out and he'll learn to drink without a "stopper," therefore getting us very close to drinking from a real cup.
Success! Bottle to Sippy Cup (Rimmed) Transition in About 3 Weeks
Does Your Baby Drink Water or Juice From a Sippy...but Not Milk?
Sometimes weaning from the bottle works for some drinks, but not others. Many parents report that their babies or toddlers will take a sippy cup with anything other than milk--but once milk is put into it, feeding time becomes a sob-fest. These tried-and-true tips may just work for you.
- Try a cup that's completely different from the water/juice sippy cup. If you use a rimmed-cup, for example, try a straw cup. While it's not a bottle, it can teach your child that milk IS available, just not in a bottle (and not in the typical water/juice sippy cup).
- Let him see other children drink from non-bottles. If you baby isn't in a socialized setting (i.e. daycare, etc.) he or she may not get the opportunity to see peers drinking from sippies. Consider a playdate with a sippy-drinker so that this can be experienced.
- Make it into a game. Chances are, you little one sees you drink from a regular cup all the time. Twist the top off a sippy cup containing milk and allow him or her to drink through it like a "big boy" or "big girl." It may be messy (tip: hold it while they drink), but if you can demonstrate what's in the cup and that it's ok to drink from it, a lightbulb may go off!
- Consider not giving milk in anything but a sippy and going cold turkey. This is hard for parents, and many use it as a last resort. You might have to go up to two days before your child is ready to try the milk in the sippy, but oftentimes, this does work.
Remember: Dairy and Calcium Can Come From a Variety of Sources
Cheese and yogurt are great sources of calcium. If your child is revolting against sippy cups with milk, up the intake of these foods for proper nutrition.
© 2012 Lauren