10 Tips to Wean Your Child Off the Bottle | Paper Pinecone

10 Tips to Wean Your Child Off the Bottle

Published Date: 06/04/19

As parents, there’s always apprehension when introducing something new to your baby. The switch from bottle to cup is no exception.

The prolonged use of bottles can cause tooth decay and also affect the positioning of teeth. Research shows a link between using bottles past age two and obesity. Many parents leave bottles with their babies overnight, however when babies drink at a horizontal angle it can lead to frequent ear infections.

baby drinking bottle

While milk can be a healthy part of a child’s diet, too much milk can interfere with the appetite, and your child may miss out on key nutrients from solid foods.

The general rule is that the longer you wait, the more difficult the process becomes when making the switch to a sippy cup. Ideally, you’ll wean your baby off the bottle around age one.

Here are ten helpful ideas to help you make the transition easier:

1) Make the cup familiar
For a baby, everything is new and unfamiliar. Give your child a sippy cup to play with before he or she even starts drinking from it, between 3-6 months.

2) Go cold turkey
It’s hard, we know, and some children are more adaptable than others. You may have a few fussy days, but you’ll get through them. This is not recommended for babies under a year who are still getting the majority of their calories from formula or breastmilk as you don’t want to starve your child into submission.

3) Gradually phase it out
If cold turkey isn’t right for your family, you can gradually phase out the bottle. Start by replacing one bottle a day with the sippy cup, and regularly reduce the number of daily bottles.

4) Store bottles out of sight
Babies are smart little creatures and seeing a bottle may trigger their desire for one. Store bottles in a cabinet, while putting colorful sippy cups on display.

sippy cup

5) Let your baby choose the sippy cup
Allowing your child to select the cup they want to use gives them the sense of control they may desire. It may allow help them develop an attachment to the cup over the bottle.

6) Offer water in the bottle
Give your child a choice of water in the bottle or milk in a sippy cup. Often the child will opt for the sippy cup over the bottle in these circumstances. This can be used in conjunction with gradually phasing out the bottle or as a standalone tactic.

7) Offer a reward
For older toddlers, you can reward your child for giving up the bottle by allowing them to pick a new toy or taking them somewhere special.

8) Provide a substitute comfort item
Often children find the bottle comforting, so you can introduce a new lovie, blanket, or stuffed animal during the transition.

9) Let your child toss the bottles
If your child is old enough, speak to them about giving up the bottle. Allow them to take the lead and collect all of the bottles in the house. Donate them or recycle them appropriately.

10) Make a big deal
Children aim to please, so celebrate each time your child uses a sippy cup. This will encourage your child to use it more and drink from the bottle less frequently. Throw a party or have a special outing once the transition is complete.

Every child is different, so find a method that works for your family and share any tips we haven't included!

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