Goodbye, Bottle! How to Transition From Bottles to Sippy Cups

June 08, 2020

Goodbye, Bottle! How to Transition From Bottles to Sippy Cups

Just when you think you've formed a routine with your baby, it's time to switch it up.

Parenting truly is the hardest job you'll ever have, and for good reason! The first few years of your baby's life are spent teaching new habits, making adjustments, and fostering their development. With this comes curve balls and changes that both of you need to prepare for.

The switch from bottles to sippy cups is no exception. This transition typically takes months of preparation to fully commit to. If your baby is ready for a sippy cup but you're not sure where to start, rest assured, you're not the only one!

We've put together a list of tips for transitioning to sippy cups. Keep reading to learn more!

When Should You Bring in the Sippy Cup

You should introduce a sippy cup around the same time that you start solid foods.

While the baby may not drink out of the bottle at this time, it's important to get them used to the idea of a sippy cup. When you start giving them a sippy cup with meals, they'll develop positive feelings towards it since they are associating it with mealtime.

Babies and children learn from repetition and habit. The more you have the bottle around, the easier time they'll have adjusting to it.

Your baby should be completely weaned off of their bottle by their first birthday.

Why It's Important to Switch to a Sippy Cup

Using a bottle for too long can provide a variety of negative consequences.

These include:

  • Obesity
  • Tooth decay
  • Poor nutrition
  • Picky eating habits
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overbite
  • Ear infection

A bottle is only made for the mouth of a baby, so as the baby ages, they must switch to a cup that supports their development.

How to Transition from Bottles to Sippy Cups

Transitioning from bottles to sippy cups can be a bit of a challenge.

Here are some tips for switching successfully:

1. Start Early 

When it comes to teaching your baby or toddler a new behavior, it's better to start sooner rather than later.

For babies and toddlers to learn, they must go through repetition for an extended period of time. For example, when you start potty training your little one, you'll want to start as soon as possible so they get the hang of it early on.

Start exposing your baby to the sippy cup months before they're ready to use it exclusively. Let them see it, play with it, touch it, and chew on it if they want. Over time, they'll be so used to the sippy cup that the transition will be much easier.

2. Take Out the Valve

When your baby or toddler starts drinking out of the sippy cup, remove the valve.

While the valve does prevent spills, it makes getting liquid out more difficult. For a baby who is used to drinking out of a bottle, this transition may be too difficult. 

While it's going to make a mess for a while, stay patient and the hard work will pay off.

3. Use a Silicone Spout First

Before having babies drink out of a plastic sippy cup, use a silicone spout first. The silicone spout will feel familiar to their bottle, facilitating the change.

4. Entice Them with Something Besides Water

While water is important for babies, start serving something a little more enticing in the sippy cup.

When you originally introduce the sippy cup, you'll want to make it seem appealing. Serving bland water in it will not encourage your little ones. To start, serve them some diluted juice.

5. Offer the Sippy Cup Instead of the Bottle

Your baby relies on you for everything in the first years of life, so try offering the sippy cup instead of the bottle.

Babies use the bottle because they're used to you handing it to them. You've created a routine with the bottle. So, start switching it up and offering the sippy cup instead of the bottle. 

Practice this more and more as your baby starts to receive the sippy cup well.

6. Slowly Reduce Nighttime Drinking

Many babies enjoy sipping on milk or other drinks before bed.

While this is okay when they're young to help them fall asleep, as they get older, you'll want to break this habit. Start reducing the amount that they're allowed to drink at night as you're preparing to switch to the sippy cup.

7. Quit All at Once

If you don't want to go through all these steps, you have the option of quitting cold turkey.

While this is going to make the adjustment a little more difficult for your baby, sometimes the immediate change is necessary. The way you switch to a sippy cup is all a matter of personal preference.

8. Stick to the Plan

While you do have an option to go slow or quit all at once when you start the transition, it's important to stick to it.

There will be days when your little one wants to drink a lot at night, but it's important to stick to decreasing the nighttime drinking. In that same vein, there will be days that your baby doesn't want to use the sippy cup and some that they're okay with it.

Regardless of your baby's mood, it's important to stick to the plan. If you get in the habit of giving in to tantrums, they'll begin to pick up on this and use it to their advantage as they get older.

Are You Ready to Make the Switch?

If your kiddo is approaching the age where it's time to ditch the bottle, don't hesitate to start transitioning!

As you transition from bottles to sippy cups, it's important to stay patient and consistent. There will be good days and bad days, but in the end, you're switching them over for their own health and proper development.