When Is It Time for My Baby to Use a Cup Instead of a Bottle?

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Whether you breastfeed, vessel feed, oregon bash a combo of the two, astatine immoderate constituent you'll wonder: Is it clip to determination connected to a cup?

If you conscionable breastfeed, the easiest power is to skip bottles wholly and spell consecutive to cups astir the 1-year mark, oregon whenever you determine to halt nursing. If your kid happily sucks connected bottles, their archetypal day mightiness inactive beryllium a bully choice. That's due to the fact that you're already changing from look to cow's beverage astir that time.

Missed that window? Waiting until your babe is simply a small older? No worries, but don’t hold excessively long. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests saying bye-bye to the vessel earlier your babe is 18 months old. "I'd accidental decidedly earlier property 2, but the sooner the better," says Keith T. Ayoob, EdD. He’s an subordinate objective prof of pediatrics astatine Albert Einstein College of Medicine successful Bronx, N.Y.

As a registered dietitian who works with kids, Ayoob snatches the vessel from kids arsenic aged arsenic 5 -- and helium says it isn't pretty. "You person to cognize your child, but successful general, the longer you hold the harder it is."

Why the Bottle Needs to Go

A vessel gives nutrient and comfortableness to galore children, truthful letting your small 1 usage it for arsenic agelong arsenic they like might look harmless enough. But determination are respective reasons wherefore it's astute to power to cups:

Bottles boost bony decay. Milk has lactose, a benignant of sugar. And if you're giving your kid foodstuff successful a vessel (though you shouldn't), that's adjacent worse. "The acerb successful foodstuff is simply a nightmare for teeth," Ayoob says.

Milk should stay an important portion of your child's diet, and foodstuff is OK present and then. Sucked from a vessel though, the sweetener and acerb volition enactment longer connected their teeth, which could pb to cavities. Letting a babe spell to slumber with a vessel is particularly bad, due to the fact that your assemblage makes little saliva (which helps to lavation distant nutrient particles) portion you're asleep.

Prolonged usage of a vessel is linked to obesity. Research shows that kids who are inactive utilizing a vessel astatine property 2 are much apt to beryllium obese by the clip they're astir 6. Ayoob says immoderate kids locomotion astir with a vessel successful their mouths each the time, adjacent though they’re eating plentifulness of coagulated food. This tin effect successful excessively galore calories.

He says that being excessively attached to the vessel could person the other effect, too: With immoderate picky eaters, the vessel becomes the “go-to meal," and a kid whitethorn not beryllium eating capable of his breakfast, lunch, oregon dinner.

Bottles could messiness with her smile. Constant sucking tin alteration the presumption of her big teeth down the line. It tin impact the improvement of her facial muscles and palate (roof of her mouth), says Peter Richel, MD. He's the main of pediatrics astatine Northern Westchester Hospital successful Mount Kisco, N.Y. This tin easy pb to an overbite that mightiness aboriginal request to beryllium corrected with orthodontia specified arsenic braces.

Drinking portion laying down increases the accidental of receptor infections. If your small 1 loves to curl up with a bottle, ticker out.

"Some of the beverage benignant of gurgles up successful the backmost of the throat, and it conscionable benignant of sits determination portion bacteria grows," Ayoob says. "Bacteria tin crawl close up the Eustachian conduit [in the throat] and into the ear."

Giving the Bottle the Boot

Your kid should cognize however to portion retired of a cupful earlier you instrumentality distant the bottle. Many pediatricians archer parents to present sippy cups astir 6 to 9 months. That's erstwhile kids commonly commencement drinking h2o and different liquids too look and bosom milk.

If, from a young age, you commencement giving immoderate beverage (not conscionable water) successful sippy oregon regular cups, past things volition beryllium easier erstwhile you're acceptable to get escaped of the vessel for good, Richel says.

Once you determine to ditch bottles, determination are 2 main ways to spell astir it: Go acold turkey, oregon dilatory wean her off. Whichever mode you choose, experts hold that sticking to it is key. "Cold turkey is the quickest but astir hard for parents, due to the fact that they consciousness they are being cruel," Richel says.

Just don't expect either mode to beryllium easy. Even if you opt to wean slowly, "there volition beryllium immoderate pushback," Ayoob says. "If you're trying to bash it without immoderate absorption whatsoever, you're successful the incorrect business."

Cold turkey: One day, you simply marque each the bottles disappear. If your kid is aged capable to understand, it mightiness assistance to see them successful the process. For example, you tin pass them that contiguous is the past time for bottles, and that starting tomorrow, they are going to portion lone from "big boy" cups.

Weaning: The thought is to dilatory swap retired bottles successful favour of cups. For example, you mightiness capable successful a cupful for the vessel astatine conscionable 1 feeding a day, past adhd a 2nd cupful the pursuing week.

No substance however dilatory (or fast) you privation to go, Ayoob says you should instrumentality distant the mid-day bottles first, past the greeting one. Get your kid utilized to eating thing coagulated archetypal happening successful the morning, helium says, earlier you region the greeting bottle.

Most experts (and parents!) hold that taking distant the nighttime vessel is the toughest last step. "Denying your babe a bottle, particularly that past 1 earlier bed, tin beryllium incredibly challenging for moms and dads,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years. “It makes it acold much hard to get babies to sleep, and erstwhile babies don’t sleep, neither bash their parents."

To marque things easier, she says to person a bedtime ritual successful place. This keeps you from solely relying connected the vessel to easiness your kid into sleep. "A bully lukewarm bath, rocking portion speechmaking a story, and snuggling with a lovey tin beryllium large sources of comfort, security, and relaxation earlier bedtime, adjacent erstwhile the bedtime vessel is nary longer a portion of the routine," she says.

Common Concerns

Nervous astir stopping the bottle? We asked the experts to connection immoderate other assistance and support.

You're thinking: "She hates sippy cups." 

The fix: To support her teeth, effort a cupful that doesn't person a coagulated spout. It's excessively akin to a nipple, says Ayoob, who says a straw is simply a amended choice. But successful the end, "the champion sippy cupful is the 1 your kid volition portion from happily and consistently," McAllister says. "Buy a fewer antithetic types and experiment. When you find 1 your kid likes, bargain a few!"

You tin besides person your kid usage regular, non-sippy cups. Still, it mightiness instrumentality immoderate clip for her to larn to usage it by herself. Give her thing heavy -- similar vanilla yogurt oregon immoderate puréed effect that's been thinned with a small h2o -- to chopped backmost connected spills, Ayoob says.

You're thinking: "She'll portion h2o oregon foodstuff from a sippy cupful -- conscionable not milk." 

The fix: "Some children emotion the vessel truthful precise overmuch that they volition beryllium stubborn to instrumentality beverage from thing else, but this is simply a impermanent hunger strike!" Richel says.

Not consenting to hold it out? Take the nipple disconnected the vessel and connection it with a straw instead. Or commencement putting h2o successful bottles and beverage successful cups and springiness your kid a choice. "Tell her, 'Milk comes successful a cupful now. Water comes successful a bottle. Which 1 bash you want?'" Ayoob says. You tin besides effort to marque beverage successful a cupful much tempting by flavoring it with puréed strawberries oregon different fruit. "A strawberry 'milkshake' mightiness tempt her to portion from a cup," McAllister says.

You're thinking: "If she refuses the cup, she won't get capable calcium."

The fix: Don't interest astir them not getting capable calcium, adjacent if they refuse milk from a cupful for respective weeks. Just beryllium definite to provender them different sources, specified arsenic food and yogurt. Broccoli, soy milk, and calcium-fortified orangish foodstuff are bully picks, too.

You're thinking: "He's going to propulsion a tantrum."

The fix: Let them. Throwing a acceptable is hardly retired of quality for a toddler, and they'll get implicit it. "If the genitor is consenting to enactment up with a meltdown for a time oregon two, it volition spell away," Ayoob says. "Remember, if helium tin portion from a cup, you're not denying him liquid."

You're thinking: "She'll ne'er autumn asleep."

The fix: Many children are utilized to having a vessel to settee down, but that volition change. "Infants and toddlers tin larn to self-soothe without the sucking that they person been accustomed to from pacifiers oregon bottles," Richel says. "It simply takes a spot of time. But it volition happen."