1. Make Plans Before the Switch
Most children make the switch from bottle to cup around 9-12 months of age. Around this age children tend to be much more interested in observing their surroundings than spending their time sucking a bottle. If you plan to phase out the bottle around this time you will need to plan ahead. When your child is around 6 months, have them occasionally drink from a sippy cup so they will be familiar with a cup when it comes time to remove the bottle. Do not always offer milk in a bottle and alternative drinks in a cup. Otherwise your child may refuse to drink milk if it is not presented to them in their bottle.
2. Make the Bottle Disappear
When you are weaning, remove all bottles from site so your child will not request them instead of the cup. If you have an older child, talk with them and let them know it is time to stop using their bottle. You can help your child make this transition by packing up the bottles and sending them away together.
3. Weight Gain
Researchers have found that extended bottle use, defined as regularly drinking from a bottle beyond the age of 12-14 months, adds additional calories to their diet which will increase the risk of weight gain. Children can start eating solid foods around 4-6 months and by a year old they will usually eat mostly solid food, supplementing their diet with 10-16 ounces of whole milk or breast milk each day.
4. Bottle Attachment And Difficulty In Sleeping Alone
Giving a child a bottle before bed is common and may seem harmless, but it can limit your child’s ability to learn to fall asleep on their own. The longer you offer the bedtime bottle the more likely it is that they will become attached to it and rely on this for sleep.
5. Extra Tips
Try Different Cups- sometimes the novelty of a new cup with a favorite character on it or one they picked out in the store can be enough to win them over. However, the goal isn’t to replace the bottle feedings with a cup feeding. Meaning, if your kid takes a sipy cup before bed then that’s defeating the purpose.
Milk is for Mealtime- Only allow milk to be drank at meals, otherwise it will fill them up and make for a poor appetite at the next meal. You can give water in between. Early on, it is a good idea to use different cups for milk and water so your child isn’t confused.
Use Different Liquids- If your child is really lacking motivation in drinking from a cup try putting juice, flavored water, milkshakes (these are harder to get through a straw) or strawberry milk in their cup (try blending fresh strawberries into milk). It may be the hook they need. This should be only temporary strategy. Then, slowly move to them being able to drink plain milk or plain water.