Common Formula-Feeding Problems
The transition from a bottle to a sippy cup is an important milestone for your child. Drinking from a cup not only helps your child with the transition to solid foods but will also aid the growth of her hand-eye coordination and help with family interaction during meals. And a child who drinks from the bottle too long has an increased risk of tooth decay, sometimes called “bottle rot.”
When should you wean from a bottle to a cup?
You might assume that the best time to make the switch from a bottle to a sippy cup is the point when most children transition from breast milk or formula to cow’s milk, at the 12 month mark. But most experts recommend making the transition earlier, around 9 months – or even as young as 6 months. Weaning your child from the bottle can be a gradual process, and you should aim to complete the transition around 13 or 14 months. If you wait too long, your child may grow very attached to the bottle, and the transition could be more difficult.
How will you know when your baby is ready to wean?
If your baby is increasingly distracted during feedings – starting and stopping sucking or even refusing the bottle – and is showing increased interest in drinking from a cup, it may be time.
How should I go about weaning my baby from a bottle to a cup?
Start by putting a little water in a sippy cup and giving it to your child to play with, drink from, spit out what she drinks, and generally experiment. She may get wet, initially, but eventually, she’ll begin to learn how to drink liquid from the cup.
What if my baby is resistant to making the transition?
You may want to ease the transition by skipping a bottle feeding every once in a while, perhaps every few days, and putting your child’s formula in his sippy cup instead. Eventually, you can work the sippy cup in to feedings, giving your child increasing amounts of formula in a sippy cup and decreasing amounts in a bottle. If your child is old enough, you may want to include him in selecting a cup he likes – perhaps one with a favorite decoration or character on it – to make the cup more appealing.
How long should I expect weaning from the bottle to the cup to take?
The process and timing varies from one child to another – some children take to the sippy cup right away while some are very reluctant to relinquish their bottles. In general, however, you should expect it to take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for your child to completely transition to a sippy cup from a bottle. But it doesn’t have to be cold turkey: Some mothers continue to give their babies bottles for night feedings for a period of time.
What kind of sippy cup should I use?
All sippy cups are not equal, and your child may prefer one kind over another. (Some are made with softer spouts expressly to help with the transition from bottle to cup. Others are plastic-free and insulated.) Experiment with different sippies to find the one your child likes best. Babble’s list of the best sippy cups is a great place to start.