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.
Chances 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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