Baby, Pregnancy, and Parenting Information

Moving From Bottle to a Sippy Cup


One of the hardest stepping stones for a mother and her baby is moving on from the bottle to only a sippy cup. It is hard to know when the “right” time is to make this change, however most experts say the earlier the better. As a child approaches their second and even third birthday, they have formed an attachment to the nipple that gets harder to break, and is based more on comfort than getting nutrition.

moving-from-a-bottle-to-a-sippy-cup.jpgChances are, if you introduce the sippy cup to your baby with anything but juice, or another sweet drink in it, he will not be in a hurry to drink from it. Nipples are much easier for the baby to get formula or breast milk from, than a sippy cup. Most pediatricians will tell you NOT to give the baby sweet drinks in a sippy as a way to get them to drink from it because it can lead to the baby ONLY wanting to drink juice from that sippy cup, making the switch to formula or breast milk that much harder.

One way to break your baby from their bottle is gradually. Cutting down the number of bottles you give during the day and only offering sippies. This works well for some mothers, if you have the patience and time to do it. Most will start by cutting out a bottle at a time for a week, normally starting with the morning bottle and offering just a sippy cup. Every few days or week cut out one more feeding till you only offer a bottle before nap and bedtime as a way to help their baby relax and fall asleep. Eventually cut out that nap time bottle, teaching your baby to fall asleep without the comfort of the bottle, hopefully making it easier to remove the bedtime bottle as well. Some mothers believe this it he kinder, easier way to wean from the nipple to the sippy cup.

The other way to break your baby’s habit is cold turkey. Cold turkey however requires a lot of patience and willpower on the part of the mother. When my daughter was 9 months old I decided to wean her off the bottle cold turkey. At that point she had no interest in the sippy cup. To avoid confusion I took away the pacifier at the same time.

If you are going to wean your baby cold turkey, you have to be prepared. Stock up on your baby’s favorite food and snacks. However, don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t want them at first. Have a sippy of formula or milk waiting for your baby and available to your baby at all times throughout the day. Offer him the sippy, and food, but do not give in when he cries for the bottle. Don’t be surprised if the first and even if through the second day your baby refuses the sippy cup and all most of the food you are offering him. Remember, if your baby gets hungry enough he will eat. At this point it is a battle of wills between you and your baby. The first day will probably be very hard for both of you. There will be a lot of crying and screaming from your baby. By the end of the day you will be exhausted if not screaming to yourself as well.

The second day will go about the same, hopefully by the evening though your baby will have started to give in a bit and be willing to drink some from the sippy, and eat the other foods you offer. By the time the third day comes to a close, the worst is over and your baby has probably completely given in. The sippy is as welcome to them the morning of the forth day, as a bottle would have been, and they are back to eating and drinking as normal. This cold turkey method works well for most, if the mother has the willpower to stick to it.

There is no “right” way to wean your baby off of the bottle. It is best to make the decision based on your family and on their needs, planning appropriately ahead of time.

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42 Responses to “Moving From Bottle to a Sippy Cup”

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  1. 42
    Beautiful Mommy Blog – Weaning the Bottle Says:

    […] first page I came across was Babies Online-Moving From Bottle to a Sippy Cup. They offered two scenarios. Gradually weaning and cold […]

  2. 41
    Brandy Says:

    I have a 13 month old and She literally drinks a bottle all night. I have tried water pacifiers and she will throw them. We do not get any sleep if she does not have her bottles. I have a lil cooler now in her bed with bottles. I need some serious advice. I hate taking them away cold turkey because it is her only security. She does not drink a bottle except for when she sleeps. Is there any one else out there that has this problem .

  3. 40
    Samantha Says:

    First I wanna say how nice it is to finally find somewhere to post about this topic where mothers aren’t criticizing and ripping each other down constantly… Now my saga, I have 16 mo old bg twins. My son has been off the bottle since he was 11 mos. Little trouble getting him to drink milk from sippy but found if I warmed he drank it yuck! My lil girl I’m still struggling with. At our 15 month checkup my pediatrician said that if they aren’t off by 15 mo and the bottle is they’re comfort thing waiting until two is recommended. This a VERY insecure time for them ie my daughter goes to the bathroom with me. By two, they will walk off with a stranger. I am still cutting back on her bottles and she only takes them for bed and in stressful situations, but I’m gonna relax and do cold turkey when she’s two. Hope this helps someone. It sure did me who was almost embarrassed to get ninny out after shots

  4. 39
    berenice Says:

    i have a 16mth old son who has been off the bottle for 4mths now but my problem is that he sleeps with sippy cup at night & during nap time & he only likes a certain brand of cups he doesnt like gthe hard tops & for the last three days we had him in a hard top cup but he wont drink it & im scared hes going to lose weight or get sick for not drinking milk….any help out there??

  5. 38
    All American Soldier Says:

    My 2 year old son took a lil while to break from the bottle. What I did was backed off 2 bottles have one the morning and one before bed then during the day he drank Motts apple juice from the sippy cup. Then I started putting chochalte milk in the sippy cups which brought me down to one bottle a day. Have been doing this process for a lil while and now he drinks everything from a sippy cup juice, milk, chocolate milk, water you name he drinks it out of a cup. So try chocolate milk it works use the Nestlé quick power kind. Less fat and low sugar.

    All American soldier

  6. 37
    Vee Says:

    We recently weaned my 1 yo daughter from a bottle and it was much easier than i thought it was going to be. She’s breastfed so she didn’t get many bottles at home (I’ve never even seen her with a bottle). But at the sitter’s she wouldn’t take the milk in a sippy cup, only her juice. We tried a number things, like different style cups but what I finally realized is that she wouldn’t take warm milk in her sippy but would take it cold. Once we made that switch, it was smooth sailing.

  7. 36
    Joan Says:

    My son is 2 1/2 and I’ve been so afraid to take the bottle away. We tried it once when he was 18 months old and he became completely dehydrated over a three day period until I gave in. I’m SO AFRAID to try this again. Seeing him in pain breaks my heart!! Reading all these comments does make me feel better. My mom tells me I drank from a bottle until I was 4 and when I grew my adult teeth I had buck teeth (really bad overbite=AWFUL) and had to have braces. Do you think having the bottle too long may have caused my buck teeth? I’m worried I’m doing damage to my son’s teeth too. I worry so much about this.

  8. 35
    Catherine Says:

    I’m a nutritionist at WIC and it seems like a lot of parents on here are quite worried about their little one cutting back on milk since they refuse to drink it out of a sippy. I would advise you to not worry so much since kids naturally go through periods of weird food aversions/cravings and if they get less milk for a week it won’t hurt them long-term. Just keep offering milk, limited juice (6 oz or less a day), and water. Kids 1-2 only need 2 servings of milk or milk products each day to meet their calcium needs and if they get sunshine each day then they’re probably getting enough vitamin D. And always remember that kids can get tooth decay from sippy cups too! So only give them water at nap/bedtime unless you wipe off their teeth after they’re sleeping :)

  9. 34
    Carrie Says:

    I am glad that I am not the only one also…my daughter turned 2 2 weeks ago and we are at the 48 hr mark. We gave in because she has been so lathargic it was hard to even bear. I was more worried because she also had open heart surgery in Oct. I think I will try the other way to take one bottle away a day. We cannot afford to let her lose any more weight as she is on the Enfagrow (higher calorie) formula. Fortunately, her twin took the sippy really easily and had no issues. Once she could hold the bottle freely she was off and running.

  10. 33
    Tiffany Says:

    In response to Sarah’s comment about sippy cups looking so different, there are sippy cups that look like bottles. Nuby has bottles that come with a nipple, straw top, and sippy top that you can change out. We have tried them many, many times with our 19 month old, however, and nothing has worked. We’re on day 2 of cold turkey (third time trying since she turned one), and she has not had anything to drink. Seeing other people having the same trouble makes me feel a little better, but also scared about having the strength for the days coming ahead.

  11. 32
    Jeni Says:

    I’m on day 2 of weaning my 2 year old boy. I have been hesitant since the last time I tried when he was about 18 months old. He is in the process of getting tested on the autism spectrum and I didn’t know if he’d be able to comprehend what was going on. His speech therapist said get rid of those bottles, so here we are. He went six days drinking NOTHING last time we tried this. I am really, really hoping it will not take that long, but I think we’re going to be in for a long haul here.

  12. 31
    Reenay Says:

    This is day one of going cold turkey. My daughter is 16 months old. She is now and has been drinking juice from her sippy cup for 5 months. She refuses to drink milk from her cup. She has not drank any milk all day. She ate breakfast, drank some juice, and ate some snacks. She cried and screamed often times during the day. I went through this when I took her pacifier. I hope this goes as smooth. After day one with the pacifier, we were good. It’s good to know that a few more days may be all it takes.

  13. 30
    Sarah Says:

    I’ve tried many times to get my now 16-month-old daughter to use her sippy cup. Once I tried for a long, long time but she screamed bloody murder for hours so I gave in and gave her a bottle. I think cold turkey is the only solution for her because otherwise she knows she’ll get her bottle eventually anyway. She’s smart. It does seem cruel on the surface but I understand that if you continue giving a bottle after a year it could cause dental problems. Change is always difficult, especially for a baby who’s used to doing things a certain way for comfort. This is called tough love. I would, however, like to see sippy cups that are better designed to ease the transition. Why do they look SO different from bottles? Could there not be a sippy cup that basically looks like a bottle but has a different top to sip from?

  14. 29
    tracey Says:

    It’s not punishment! and it’s certainly not traumatic!

    Cold turkey doesn’t leave any confusion; where offering a bottle occassionally does.

    I was glad to read ALL thees comments. My 12 month old is on day 8 of cold turkey – the first two days went well, but the rest of the week she’s being stubborn, but she eats so much, and so well, that I’m not worried – the wet diapers tell me she’s getting enough, and will eventuall start wanting more, too.

  15. 28
    D. Black Says:

    Why do it this way which can be quite tramatic when there are several other more gentle ways to wean a baby. It might take a little longer, but it’s not as if it’s a bad habit that the baby started, it’s the way he was taught to feed and now you are basically punishing him for what he was taught, by you, to do. Go for a more loving way please!

  16. 27
    Brittani Says:

    I’m weaning my 1 year old gradually. For a long time now she has only had bottles at nap and bed time. We took her nap bottle and switched it for a cup last week and tonight is her first night of sleeping at night with a cup. She is in her crib SCREAMING at the top of her lungs. When we switched her nap bottle she did the same thing. It only took a couple days to get used to it. Hopefully she will be just as fast this time! Hang in there mommies!

  17. 26
    tina & beverly Says:

    Tina & Beverly
    Hey Everyone, My name is Beverly in Im on day 1 so far so good. When Bailey ask for bottle I say wheres ur cup. She is 17 months old, Shell go find her cup and it is working so far. But her mama (Tina) is the one who I think Im going to have a problem with cause this is her daughter she never had and believe me when i say Bailey is very spoiled. So I have taken ALL bottles OUT OF HOME. And threat to call Wal-Mart.. LOL. Well keep everyone updated on the mama and Bailey…

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