If your little one is easily distracted while eating from the bottle or breast, or you find your baby wanting to move, pull and grasp at objects around them instead of eating, it might be time for a change. Sometimes, behaviors like these are signs that it’s time to start weaning baby from bottle and start solid feeding with a cup.
For many parents, baby’s first year can feel like a series of constant changes. Just when you’re comfortable in one phase, something new pops up almost overnight. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, weaning your baby from the bottle is a major milestone that should be reached by the time your child is 18 months old. Doctors agree that prolonged bottle feeding can cause tooth decay and may result in your child drinking more milk than he or she needs. If you’re anything like me and many other parents out there, you may be afraid that bottle weaning will upset your baby’s predictable sleep patterns and eating habits.
A few tips to help lessen your fears
Introduce a learner cup with solid foods
Many bottle brands also make sippers or “sippy cups” for toddlers. If you like your baby’s bottle, you may want to check and see if they also make a transitional cup with familiar features.
Does your baby use a pacifier?
Check to see if your pacifier brand has a line of learner cups available. The spout may be familiar to your little one, making for an easier transition.
Not every toddler cup is made equal.
At first, your growing baby may treat this new object like a baseball, and some cups hold up better than others. Here are a few that have passed the throwing, dropping, chewing, leaking and dripping tests with top-notch reviews:
Score: 92/100, Price: $5.50 (2-pack)
Score: 91/100, Price: $7 (2-pack)
Looking for a cup with handles for early grippers?
Score: 87/100, Price: $7
Looking for a modern design for your little style-setter?
Score: New Product (Do you have it? Score it now!), Price: $8
If you’ve tried every spout cup on the market, how about a straw?
Score: 91/100, Price: $5.99
Reviewers love it for reasons like this:
“I purchased these sippy cups after my son refused to use the traditional sippy cups with a spout. To my surprise, he uses these with no problems and enjoys the independence of using it on his own. They feature a straw which is flexible and soft.” — MommyToBenjamin, Reviewer since 2010
Making the transition from bottle to cup
For the transition from the bottle to a sip cup or open cup, Viewpoints reviewers love First Years Take & Toss Little Learner Spill Proof Cups , which are scoring a 94/100 for a reason:
“I have been really impressed with the durability and performance of these “disposable” cups – even though ours have been used many, many times, we have not disposed of any yet!” —WolgFam, Reviewer since 2010
Some doctors recommend beginning this transition by first substituting a cup for the morning or mid-day bottle feeding. Once baby is weaned from the bottle for those two feedings, then remove the bedtime bottle. Many parents and babies use the last bottle of the day as part of a bedtime routine. This is often the hardest transition. Just try to remember that it’s necessary for milk to move from your baby’s main source of nutrition to a supplement, in order for them to establish a healthy and well-balanced diet.
For more information on weaning your baby from the bottle, visit: www.aap.org.