Some babies are ready for a sippy cup as young as six months of age, while other babies aren’t ready until over a year. A lot will have to do with if you are planning to continue bottle feeding longer or if you want your child to drink from a cup sooner. In general, the longer you wait, the more ready your baby will be for the transition. His or her fine and gross motor skills will become more refined with each month of development, making it easier to hold a cup. Parents will know when the time is right. I’m going to go over some tips for when that time does come.
Modify the Spout
If the sippy cup has a valve for keeping fluid from spilling, try taking out the valve that controls the flow. This will allow fluid to come out easier. Some sippy cups take quite a lot of strong sipping to get the drink to come out. A baby who is a beginner at using the sippy cup might get easily frustrated if fluid does not come out easily.
Take the Lid Off Initially
You may want to take the lid off of the sippy cup for the first attempts at drinking. That way your baby will learn how to drink from a cup. Then you can put the lid with a spout on afterward to help lessen spills.
Model How It’s Done
Demonstrate to your baby how to drink from a sippy cup by taking a drink first. You may want to make a sucking noise to show that you are sucking the fluid out. Of course, lots of smiles on your part to show how yummy it is will help to get an interest going.
Experiment Until You Find the Right Sippy Cup
You may need to try several sippy cup styles until you find the winner that your baby likes. Thankfully sippy cups don’t cost too much, so it is probably well worth your while to try several if the first ones don’t work out.
Fill It With Different Liquids
If your baby is resisting the sippy cup, it could be that the liquid inside isn’t what he or she likes. Try filling the sippy cup with different fluids. If your baby is young, you may want to fill it with milk, since that is what your baby is used to. Water is always a good option, but for some babies, it may taste boring. An excellent way to give your baby options is to refill the cup throughout the day with different drinks. Keep in mind, however, that juice should only be given once in a while. Too much juice for a long amount of time can lead to dental problems.
Whether your child is drinking from it correctly or not, positive reinforcement will encourage your child to keep trying. If you show any frustration, your baby will feel frustrated. Each time your baby tries, encourage him and tell him how well he is doing. When your baby finally learns how to use the sippy cup, show her how happy you are. You may want to applaud, or just smile big. Mastering using the sippy cup is a big deal, and both of you should feel proud of it.
Slowly Introduce the Sippy Cup
Although you may want your baby to transition from a bottle to a sippy cup quickly, patience is important in the process. Continue to bottle feed your baby, but for one meal give your baby a sippy cup instead. As the days go by, keep switching your baby’s meals with sippy cups instead. If your baby asks for a bottle, tell your baby that he can have one at the next meal. Take your time when introducing the sippy cup. Your baby will learn eventually, so there is no need to rush.
Have Your Child Help You Throw Away The Bottles
It may be tempting to throw out all the bottles while your child is sleeping, but this is not always the wisest plan. If you have your child help you get rid of the bottles, then your child will realize what you are doing. If your child is old enough, have her help to gather all the bottles. Take your child with you when you recycle the bottles. Make sure to have the day be fun, and include your child in the whole process. The next time your child asks for a bottle, remind him of that fun day when you recycled the bottles. Explain to her that the sippy cup is what she will be using from now on.
Give Them Ownership of The Sippy Cups
Make a big deal of the sippy cup by letting him know that it is his. Let your baby choose the color and shape of the sippy cup. Have your child help wash and dry the sippy cup. Show your baby that the sippy cup is her responsibility. If your child is old enough, you may want to show him how to pour the drink into the sippy cup. You should always be around in case she needs help, but allow her to have ownership of the sippy cup.
Transitioning your baby from a bottle to a sippy cup may take some time. It will eventually happen, so try to show patience and not get too frustrated. There are little things that you can do to help the process along. Try modifying the spout or taking the lid off initially. Model how it’s done and experiment until you find the right sippy cup for your baby.
Fill it with different liquids and try to show positive reinforcement. It may help to slowly introduce the sippy cup and then throw away the bottles together later. Make sure to give your child ownership of the sippy cup. By following some or all of these tips, your baby will be drinking independently from the sippy cup in no time at all.