When weaning a baby from a bottle to a sippy cup, the first thing to remember is that every baby is different. While some babies may make a smooth transition, others might need time to adjust, which is normal! There is no set timeframe for switching to a sippy cup. However, as a general guide, a good goal is to begin introducing the idea of a sippy cup when you introduce solid foods, which is around 6 months of age.1,3 This is also around when your pediatrician may give the green light to start introducing water, so it’s the perfect time to test out both.2
Keep in mind that around the age of 6 months, chances are, your baby won’t drink much of anything from a sippy cup. The goal is to introduce the idea. As a rule of thumb, you may want your baby to transition away from the bottle entirely and use a sippy cup by age 1. By that time, they may have more coordination to use a sippy cup, which can ease the process of weaning from a bottle.3 Let’s look at some tips to help you with this task.
5 Tips on Weaning Baby From Bottle to Sippy Cup
Here are five tips to make weaning your baby from a bottle to a sippy cup easier.
1. Introduce It Early
Start introducing the idea of a sippy cup early on without the pressure of having your baby use it. This can help your child get used to the idea and make it fun! Let them pick up the cup and get familiar with holding it. The goal is to slowly make that transition without putting pressure on your baby.
2. Test the Waters
When moving toward using a sippy cup versus a bottle, you may have to try a couple of sippy cups before finding one your baby likes. It’s similar to finding the right pacifier, as babies have their preferences just like us! The good news is there are tons of options. While some babies prefer a sippy cup with a straw, others may like cups without a straw. Make a quick Target run, and pick up a few to test out.
3. Choose an Easier Design
There are various sippy cup options available today. Many parents find that sippy cups with a silicone spout are a bit easier for babies to use while allowing you to avoid plastic. In addition, the silicone more closely resembles a bottle nipple, which might make the transition easier.
4. Offer the Sippy Cup Before Giving the Bottle
Once your baby starts to like the idea of using a sippy cup and knows how to drink from it, it’s time to offer milk in the cup versus the bottle. Don’t get discouraged if they take a few sips and refuse the rest. In time, it will become easier for both of you! When your child is ready (likely close to the one-year mark), offer a sippy cup of milk instead of a bottle, and stay consistent.
5. Be Consistent
Again, consistency is key, especially when helping your little one transition from an old habit to a new one. They’re relying on you to guide them through this transition, and consistency will help both of you. Keep offering the sippy cup during meal times and in place of a bottle whenever they usually get milk. Make it a goal to have your child get off a bottle and use a sippy cup by their first birthday. And stick to your plan by remaining consistent throughout.
Different Kinds of Sippy Cups
Here are some sippy cups that we recommend trying when weaning your baby off the bottle:
1. Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Sippy Cup
The Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Sippy Cup is spoutless, which can help your child learn how to drink from a regular cup. The 360-degree drinking edge allows kids to drink from anywhere around the rim. It’s also no-spill and automatically seals when your baby is finished drinking. Plus, it has convenient handles and is easy to clean!
2. Nuby No-Spill Easy-Grip Cup
Nuby’s No-Spill Easy-Grip Cup is BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and easy for kids to grip. This sippy cup has a soft silicone spout, which is similar to the texture of a bottle nipple. Plus, the Click-It top lets you ensure the lid is securely closed and attached to the base. This helps prevent unwanted drips and leaks.
3. Munchkin Any Angle Weighted Straw Trainer Cup
This sippy cup is another excellent option from Munchkin. Weighted straw sippy cups can ensure your child still drinks from the cup even if they tip it back. This one has a leak-proof lid that clicks in place when the cup is sealed. Drinking from a straw can also help your baby with tongue, cheek, and lip strength.4
If you’re thinking about weaning your baby from a bottle to a sippy cup and are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Change can be challenging, especially for little ones (like your 1-year-old, who may want nothing to do with a sippy cup at first). But kids can often adapt to change much better than we give them credit for.
Remember that they will rely on you to help them through this transition, so stay consistent, follow through, and keep the process low-stress. Talk to your pediatrician about the best time to introduce a sippy cup, and try to make it fun for you and your little one!