Most bottle-fed babies love their bottle, I can distinctly remember my first baby calling hers ‘bobble’ when she wanted it, so cute! Bottles are a difficult thing to move on from, for many babies due to this love. Take it slowly, there is no need to rush, be harsh or strict with this. Here are some tips to help you make the exciting transition from bottle to cup.
1. Start Early
Even before you fill with liquid, let bub explore and play with a sippy cup at mealtimes or in the bath. Offer a cup with cooled, boiled water every meal from the time bub starts eating solids. This will ensure familiarity when it’s time to wean.
2. Look and Learn
Show your little one how to take a proper sip. Once he or she is familiarized with the look, feel, and mechanics of the sippy cup, start filling it with a small amount of milk and show them how to take a sip. Try guiding their hands onto the handles and helping them lift the straw to their mouth. This skill can take a little time to perfect, so be patient. Your baby will gradually master it!
3. Slow and Steady
If your baby is especially attached to their bottle and/or your breast, try replacing one feed per day with feeding from their sippy cup. By gradually increasing the number of daily feedings by sippy cup, your little one has a chance to ease into the change. It’s important to note that toddlers from 12 months only require 1-1.5 serves of dairy a day, so if your little learner won’t take milk from a cup, that’s okay as they can get plenty of dairy from other products, like cheese and yoghurt.
4. Make it Fun
Colorful cups, character-inspired cups, role playing - whatever you’ve got in your bag of tricks mama! Just remember to keep it functional - cups that are easy for baby to hold, such as those with handles, are ideal for teaching independence and motor skills.
Developing feeding independence is an important skill for your baby to learn. So once your little one has fully transitioned, celebrate this new milestone mama – this time is yours to enjoy with your baby!
Belinda Joyce is a midwife, maternal & child health nurse and author of 'Survive and Enjoy Your Baby'. Throughout her 20 years of experience, her passion is in providing safe, non-judgemental, evidence-based advice & options to parents so they can find their own path to parenthood. She has a wealth of knowledge, not just professionally, but also personally, as she is mum to 4 kids of her own.