According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the best time to wean your baby from the bottle is between 12-24 months of age.
But for many babies, bottles are more than just their way of getting food. They are often a source of comfort as well. So transitioning your little one from bottle to cup can be challenging, often met with temper tantrums and tears.
Make the transition smoother by following these 7 tips.
7 tips for transitioning from bottle to cup
- Pick the right time. Before making the transition, make sure your little one isn’t experiencing other big changes, such as the birth of a younger sibling or moving to a new house. Introducing any new habit is easier when your child is comfortably settled and not distracted.
- Make the transition gradual. Don’t expect to just throw away the bottle and have your kid start drinking from a cup all in one day. Start with incremental steps by cutting down the number of bottle feeds over the course of a few weeks. For example, if your child has 3 bottle feeds a day, decrease it to 2 a week, followed by 1 a week, and then completely shift to feeding using a cup. Since nighttime bottles may be part of your child’s bedtime routine and the hardest one to ditch, only drop once your child has already gotten used to using a cup during the day.
- Use sippy cups. Sippy cups are spill-proof and have handles that are easy to hold, with spouts designed for babies. Dentists advise using sippy cups with a hard spout or a straw instead of ones with soft spouts.
- Celebrate your little one’s progress. Let your child know that you are proud of their progress, and praise them by telling them that they are becoming a big kid now. Help them to feel part of the process and have a choice in the matter instead of forcing it on them against their will.
- Figure out why your child is attached to the bottle. Sometimes, kids reach for their bottle not because they’re hungry or thirsty but because they’re looking for comfort. If your child needs the bottle for emotional support, give them cuddles and attention. If they look for it when they are bored, play with them or tell them stories.
- Keep the bottles out of sight. When you are feeding your child using a cup, keep the bottles away from their sight and reach.
- Ask your pediatrician for advice. If you are still struggling to wean your baby off their bottle, consider talking to your pediatrician for help.
Why you shouldn’t delay weaning
The longer you wait to wean your baby off the bottle, the more difficult it will be to transition them to a cup. More importantly, prolonged bottle-feeding can have negative effects on your child’s health, leading to increased risk of:
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Brody B. How to Switch Your Baby From Bottle to Cup. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/bottle-to-cup#1
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