Baby bottles are the safest option for toddlers out there because they’re spill-proof and easy to prepare, but we know that bottle-feeding for too long can cause health repercussions.
So it’s true to say that this transition is as hard for you as for your toddler. I shared the same love for bottles as my toddler, to be honest, but I knew it was time to move on.
The transition wasn’t easy at all, my toddler wouldn’t drink milk unless it was in a bottle, but with a few tricks and research, I finally got succeed in my endeavor. I know most of you must be having the same problem so here is a little help for you from my side!
According to pediatricians, parents need to stop encouraging their children to drink from a bottle around 12-18 months. Chances are that the longer you wait, the harder it becomes for the toddler to transition. According to National Health Interview research, 20% of the 2-year old toddlers and 9% of the 3-year old toddlers are still on bottle within the United States. Also, toddlers who use bottles for drinking purposes often drink too much milk, which can cause obesity or misbalancing of nutrients because milk replaces the craving for other necessary foods for their growth. Bottles have also been found to be the reason behind cavities because your child is drinking milk or water throughout the day. Most of the parents lack the necessary knowledge of when to make a transition. This transition depends more on your children’s readiness and age. For toddlers who can sit straight, have strong motor skills, and hold a bottle are ready for the transition. This does not mean that you can hand the cup full of milk to your toddler, rather hold the Sippy cup for them as they take small sips because the purpose is to move past the bottle phase.
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When should you transition from a bottle to a Sippy cup?
There is no specific age for this transition, but most toddlers around 2-3 years are qualified enough to make this transition. There are several other facts to be considered before you make your move because all kids vary in their capabilities and ability to transition.
The best time to make your baby familiar with the cup is meal time. When your toddler is able to take in solid food, making him have a few sips of water during mealtime with a cup, this will help them get familiar with the Sippy cup.
At the age of one, your baby can easily undergo transitions because that`s the age they develop habits. However, after 2 years, the transition will take more effort and more time because babies have a hard time changing their habits.
Red flags that it’s time to transition
Though bottles are safe for toddlers they can have negative impacts on their health if used for too long. Some of the clear signs that your baby needs to transition from the bottle are:
- Cavity formation
- Increase weight
- Picky about eating
- Imbalance nutritional intake
- Misaligned teeth
- Ear infections
Step by step guide on how to make this transition happen
Having little to no knowledge of how to make this transition possible, can be troublesome for both the parents and the child. It’s always better to do your research and ask other moms for tips and guidance.
Here are some tips that I learned during my struggle:
- Introduce the Sippy cup to drink water while eating. This will make them familiar with the concept of drinking from a cup. Also, the earlier you make this transition, the less resistant your baby will be.
- Remove the valve of the Sippy cup until your child becomes used to drinking from it. Valve makes it harder to extract liquid which can be frustrating for your toddler, and they might start avoiding drinking from it altogether.
- Let the water flow freely, and let your toddler drop water here and there. This will help them understand how to hold a cup to drink water or any other liquid.
- Use silicone spout for it gives the same feeling like a bottle, so keep it simple and familiar in the beginning. This will help your toddler accept the change happily.
- It’s better to use a Sippy cup for drinking diluted juices once in a while because water is tasteless, and your child is at risk of losing interest from drinking with a cup. Also, pour a drop or two of some sweet juice on the spout to make your toddler more interesting in the contents within the cup.
- Once your child starts accepting and drinking from the cup, start replacing it with a bottle for daily liquid intakes. Use the cup to feed formula instead of bottles.
- Now that your toddler has mastered using the Sippy cup, ensure that you change their nighttime feeding as well. Use cups to feed them before bed and prefer protein-rich foods to make them full before bed.
- If you want to make this transition fast, then replace all the bottles with cups. Your toddler might create some mess and show stress, but the transition will be quicker.
- Last but not least, do not go back to using bottles in case your child protests and stops eating. If you do it once, they’ll surely make you do it again, so be strong.
What cups to use for transitioning from bottle to Sippy cup?
Cups that have spill-proof spouts are the best for the babies. As they prevent the liquid from spilling no matter how your baby uses it. Dentists, however, recommend using Sippy cups that have a hard spout or straw instead of soft or silicone spouts.
But, hard spouts can be harmful if your child has just started his transition. So, it’s better to use hard spouted cups when your child is somewhat experienced and grown.
How can Sippy cups be harmful to toddlers?
Sippy cups apart from their benefits, do have side effects, but if proper usage and hygiene are maintained then they can be prevented.
Sometimes food particles can stick to the spout or straw, and if the sippy cups are not washed properly, they may grow molds inside them. This can lead to illness or other health issues for your child.
To prevent this…
- Always rinse the cup right after use
- Soak the Sippy cup In hot water to prevent food from sticking to the valve or the inside of the spout
- Make sure that your cup is completely dry before you put it back together
Other than that most of the children get injured while running around with the Sippy cup in their mouth. Especially Sippy cups with a hard spout can cause serious bleeding inside the mouth upon falling. So, make sure that your kid is seated while drinking from the cup.
One of the serious issues created by Sippy cups is improper development. The oral cavity development of a baby may change due to sipping from a hard spout. This can affect your toddler’s speech development, sleep, and facial aesthetics.
So consider using cups silicon spouts, for they can prevent your toddler from injuries and will not affect their oral development.
Transitioning a baby from a bottle to a Sippy cup is not a hard milestone to achieve if done with knowledge and patience. Knowing when to teach your toddler this skill is the key part of the process, and ignoring it would only make it harder for both of you.
Also, keep trying different cups to know what works, and give your toddler enough freedom to hone this new skill.
Hajira is a certified editor, an experienced and thoughtful writer, and a mother of two. Her deliberate passion for writing convinced her to become a writer along with her mom duties. Driven by her passion for writing, she takes pride in providing the best possible. She aims to incite and provoke enthusiasm in her readers.