It’s inevitable. Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, they will eventually graduate from infancy feeding to toddler sippy cup! But when should you introduce a sippy cup to your toddler? Which sippy cup should you choose? Should the transition be instantaneous or a gradual adjustment over time? Will sippy cups affect your toddlers’ development? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. And they’re all valid! Our goal in this blog is to address these concerns and help ease the stress of confusion and complication. We’ve got your back, mama!
Let’s start with why toddlers all over the world have been switching from bottles to sippy cups for decades. *Fun fact: Richard Belanger invented the spill-proof spout mechanism that is the sippy cup in 1981. Needless to say, the sippy cup creation was a smashing and instant success.* Moving on! The longer parents wait to wean their babies from a bottle, the more attached children become to the bottle and breaking the habit can become longer and more difficult than it has to be. Which is totally understandable! In a baby’s mind, bottles signify nourishment from ‘food’ and nurturing from mama, what’s not to love? However, prolonged bottle use can do much more damage than good; the hard-to-break bottle habit may cause cavities, unnecessary weight gain, and problematic issues with oral cavity development. If you’re looking for more details regarding the risks of extensive bottle use, check out our previous blog post here.
Now that we’ve got solid reasoning under our belts, let’s cover when to initiate the transition from bottles to sippy cups. Experts suggest introducing sippy cups to toddlers around the end of their first year. Simple enough, right? If your tot is turning ONE then it’s time to be DONE with the bottle! But don’t feel like you need to wait until the milestone birthday to begin introducing sippy cups to your toddler. After about 6 months of age, children have begun to develop the coordination and skills needed to hold and operate a sippy cup, and it is also safe to begin introducing water at 6 months old, so even if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, your little one can still begin utilizing a sippy cup! Doctors also recommend transitioning to cow’s milk after 12 months, which makes the transition from bottle to sippy cup at the age of one both practical and convenient. Even if you’re breastfeeding, it is still recommended to begin transferring milk to a cup. Sippy cups (thankfully!) easily accommodate each mother’s choice in how to best nourish and feed their children!
Last, but certainly not least, let’s discuss how best to transition from bottle to sippy cup in the most effective, least stressful way. If you were to search ‘sippy cup’ on Google or Amazon Prime, you’d likely be totally bombarded with countless cups in countless styles made of countless materials. Who’s got the time to weed through that many overwhelming potential choices! *hint: not me, or any other mama on the planet* The best bet for easing into sippy cups with stellar success is to choose a cup with a silicone spout. Silicone sippy cup lids and spouts mimic the feel of both a mother’s nipple and a bottle nipple, making the new sippy cup feel familiar, safe, and manageable. The silicone spout also protects children from the dangers associated with hard-spout or plastic sippy cups. One helpful tool for a smooth transition from bottle to sippy cup is the suggestion to remove the valve from the sippy cup, or avoid a cup with a valve altogether. While the valve can help prevent leaks and spills, it also creates challenges with drinking, making the liquid more difficult to get out of the cup. Eliminating the valve from sippy cups encourages children to drink as nutrition flows freely and effortlessly. Another helpful hint for seamless bottle to sippy cup transition is to offer a sippy cup first before a bottle (especially first thing in the morning or at night time feeding), the idea being that if a child is hungry enough, they’ll take it anyway they can get it!
A milestone of considerable size!
The transition from bottle to sippy cup is a big one. Don’t worry mama, bye-bye bottle does not mean your baby is no longer! The idea of giving up the bottle and graduating to a sippy cup may seem daunting, but the progression is natural, healthy, and helpful to both you and your toddler. My go-to method for handling any major transition has always been to couple big developmental shifts with big life events. My son ditched his crib when we moved to a new house. My daughter abandoned her bottle when her brother was born. When lots happens at once, it can often distract our children from the way things were before! If your toddler is having a hard time breaking up with their bottle, try taking a family trip! The distraction away from home may be just what they need to make the switch. And who among us wouldn’t benefit from a vacation! What tips and tricks do you have for other mamas nearing the shift from bottle to sippy cup milestone? Leave a comment or send me an email! We’d love to hear your input, it takes a village!
Jess from The Penguinni Family
Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
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