Babies love routine and one of the biggest challenges that most parents face is transitioning from the bottle to the sippy cup. Moving from the bottle to the sippy cup might be one of the biggest changes for your baby as well as you. Most babies begin weaning off bottle feeding and start adapting to the sippy cup from the time they are about a year old.
What is a Sippy Cup?
A sippy cup has a lid that can be detached from the cup. It has a projecting spout with a hole or several tiny holes through which a young child can draw liquid without spilling it. Sippy cups are popular choices for weaning babies off the bottle.
Should my Baby Use a Sippy Cup?
Prolonged drinking from the bottle beyond a year and a half has many ill effects as stated earlier. Lactose in the milk causes tooth decay. Children become obese when they are drinking from the bottle past the age of a year and a half. Attachment to the bottle makes a child fussy about food, eating insufficiently for the three cardinal meals thus resulting in being poorly nourished. The action of constantly sucking may lead to malformation of the jaw as the child grows, leading to an overbite.
Steps for Transitioning
If you are one of those concerned moms wondering how to transition to a sippy cup, here are some good points to keep in mind:
- Make it fun
One of the best ways to get your baby to take to the sippy cup is by giving water in the cup at the time solid foods are introduced. Make it fun to drink from the cup using a play-way method. The baby will get familiarized sipping from the cup even though it may be messy.
- When to Transition
Your child should be allowed to take the new method of feeding and not be forced. By the age of one, a child begins to develop habits, and as they grow older, form opinions. Weaning the child off the bottle by age one is ideal as doing it later will be met with resistance and tantrums.
- How to Transition
It is best to introduce the sippy cup when your baby begins to take solid foods. Putting the cup to the lips for the baby to moisten the mouth will allow the child to know its purpose. Gradually the baby will develop the technique and form the habit of drinking from it.
- Use built-in Instincts
Babies love putting things into their mouths. This is one of the ways they get to know the world around them. Giving them a sippy cup by age one allows them to ‘experience’ this new item and get familiar with it. At feeding time (solids), mimic drinking from the sipper. Babies are great imitators and soon they will do what you intended them to do.
- Make it Easy
The sippy may have a valve to prevent fluids from flowing out too fast. Remove the valve so that the strain of drawing the water from the sippy may not feel difficult and frustrating for the baby. Initially, there will be water spilled but once the knack of sipping has been learnt the valve can be replaced. To make your baby take to the sippy easier, use a spout made of silicon as the feel will be similar to the nipple of the bottle. This will make your child feel comfortable, happy, and contented.
- Make it Interesting
Water is tasteless to a baby. This may cause drinking from a sippy uninteresting. Give your baby diluted juice. The sweetness will get them asking for more. Later, once the habit has been formed, water may be introduced with solid meals.
- Don’t Worry
The next step is to get your baby to drink milk from the sippy and not the bottle. Try giving water in the bottle and flavored milk in the sippy. Your baby may refuse to drink from a sippy for several weeks and if you are not giving milk in a bottle you may feel that the child is losing out on calcium. There are other sources of calcium like yogurt, cheese, soy-milk, and orange juice fortified with calcium.
- Reduce Dependence on Milk
Your child may throw a tantrum if not given milk in a bottle. This is normal child behavior and tantrums will disappear in a few days. Your baby may be used to going to sleep after having a feed from the bottle. This will change as infants learn to self-soothe without having to suck. This will take time but it will eventually happen. To discourage the dependence on the nighttime milk feed, give your baby a nourishing snack that fills the belly. Withdrawing the nighttime bottle is the most challenging final step. Babies take longer to go to sleep and so do parents as a result.
- Don’t Turn Back
After finally deciding to get your child used to the sippy, do not go back to offering the bottle. Being overly attached to the bottle may result in your child not eating enough solid food that gives more nourishment.
You as a caring parent need to take steps in the best interest of your child. At times, it may wrench your heart to see your baby cry. However, these situations won’t last long and you will be a happy parent to see your little one progress from the bottle to the sippy, and then on to a cup and plate as your baby grows to become independent.