As much as your baby may love breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, they eventually have to be weaned off the bottle. Transitioning from a bottle straight to an open cup is difficult for the baby. This is where sippy cups come in. But when should kids start and stop using sippy cups?
You can introduce the sippy cup around 6-9 months. As for when to stop using a sippy cup, it depends on the child’s motor skills and development. Ideally, they could stop using it after the age of two.
The sippy cup comes in handy as a bridge that helps the baby transition from bottle to open cup, making the whole process a lot easier. With the sippy cup, the baby is not going from a closed utensil to an open one without any in-between. Read on to find out when to introduce sippy cups, how to make the transition easier for your baby, and eventually stop sippy cups as well.
When to Introduce Sippy Cups?
According to pediatricians, you can introduce the sippy cup once your baby can sit without help. You can also check if they can move their hands independently and can hold the sippy cup on their own. However, since different babies have different developmental periods, doctors agree that the age of six to nine months is ideal for babies to begin using the sippy cup.
Introducing a sippy cup could take time. As with everything with a baby, bringing about a change in habit will take time. It is essential to be patient when introducing a new element into your baby’s life. There are no set periods for how long your baby will take to completely move from the breast to the bottle.
Most pediatricians and dentists recommend that your baby should be off the bottle by the time they are a year old. This is because prolonged use of the bottle leads to tooth decay. So, taking them off the bottle prevents tooth decay.
To get your baby used to the cup, some pediatricians recommend that you start introducing the sippy cup at around six months of age. This gives your baby ample time to get used to it. With this, they can use it properly for nine months. In addition, it will make it easier for you to completely remove the bottle by the time your baby turns a year old.
Your baby would have just started eating solid food at around six months of age. So, it is a good idea to wait for a couple of weeks before introducing the sippy cup. Your baby may get overwhelmed by too many new elements. In addition, your baby will be experiencing new sensory, motor, and cognitive experiences as they first start eating solid food.
Also, before you introduce a new element into your baby’s life, take a look at what else is new in your baby’s environment. Teething, new types of movement, any new food items are things you should look at. Other changes like a new house or daycare will also be important.
Your baby requires time to adjust to changes. In these cases, medical practitioners advise mothers to wait for a month or two before introducing the sippy cup. In addition, your baby may find it difficult to cope with many changes to their routines, and this will cause them to cling to familiar routines and objects.
Sippy cups when the baby starts teething
Most people believe that sippy cups are for when the baby starts teething. During teething, the baby tends to bite everything. So, the tender teat of the bottle can tear, while a sippy cup is more durable because of the material. However, you can start using the sippy cup before teething and use the bottle periodically, even during the teething period.
A sippy cup is great for a baby who is teething. Since the sippy cup has a lid made of plastic, it is less likely to get damaged by the sharp teeth of a teething baby. However, the quality of the sippy cup is crucial. The sippy cups should be durable and made of BPA and EA-free plastics. With a sippy cup like the one from Niniobaby, your baby will be safe.
The advantage of a sippy cup is that you can give your baby slightly thicker foods than milk and water. For example, fruit smoothies for breakfast can be a viable option with these cups. In addition, since the opening of the sippy bottle is more significant than the teat of a feeding bottle, thick juices can become a part of your baby’s daily diet. This means that you can include more fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet, even if they are fussy eaters.
Tips for getting your child used to sippy cups.
The transition to sippy cups is not easy. Your baby is used to a particular way of drinking, whether it be from the breast or the bottle. As mentioned before, the transition will take time, and your baby will not start using the sippy cup properly overnight.
Try out different sippy cups: Sippy cups come in various choices with hard spouts, soft spouts, and some come with a straw. It is a good idea to buy a few different types of sippy cups and figure out which one your baby likes the most. Each child is different and has their preferences. An example of this is that some babies may find it easier to drink from a cup with handles on it, but others may not find these to their liking.
Start by offering an empty cup: An excellent way to get your baby familiar with the sippy cup is to give your baby an empty cup as a toy. This gives them a chance to explore and play with it. When you do this for several days, they will be familiar with the cup before putting liquid in it. It also helps talk to your baby and explain that they will start drinking from the cup. Finally, it helps them get used to the idea and makes it easier for you.
Teach them to sip: One of the things to remember before giving your child the sippy cup is to make sure they are seated. Then, fill about half the cup with water, breast milk, or formula. When your child is below a year old, do not give juice, especially those with fruit concentrates or artificial flavors.
It is imperative that you teach them how to sip from the cup. Hold up the cup to your baby’s mouth and tilt it slowly until a little bit of the liquid goes in. Give your child ample time to swallow it before your next tilt. Put a tiny smear of something that your baby likes on the tip of the cup so your baby can taste it and suck a little more. Examples of this are breast milk or formula that your baby is used to.
Make the cup something your baby wants: Increase the appeal of the sippy cup by using it for breast milk or formula. For example, if your baby is reaching for the bottle more than the cup, fill the bottle with water and put the breast milk in the cup. When forced to choose between having milk in an unfamiliar cup and only water from a bottle, most babies seem to go for the cup.
Supervise your child with the sippy cup: It is essential that you supervise your child when you give them the sippy cup. Make sure they are seated throughout the time they’re trying to use the cup. Walking around or running with the cup in their mouth increases the risk of injury if they fall.
Also, limit their time with the sippy cup. Unlike the bottle they can take to the crib, there is a risk of choking from liquids in the cup, as the flow is much greater than from a bottle.
Start the weaning process gradually: Start weaning when you think your baby is ready. Letting them take their own sweet time with the breast or the bottle will result in them getting more attached to those and, in the process, harder to give up.
Instead, give your baby about a month to get used to the sippy cup and gradually start the weaning process. Start by replacing a meal a day with the cup, and then slowly increase this number until they are off the bottle completely. Doing this too quickly may result in them viewing the cup as a punishment, and you do not want this.
Give them an open cup: If the baby does not take to the sippy cup and cannot hold it well, use an open cup to teach them the hold. Fill some water in an open cup and give it to the baby. It is bound to spill. Slowly, the baby will learn to hold the water in the cup without spilling. This is mostly for those babies who cannot hold the sippy cup properly. Most of the time, you will not face this problem if the baby is already used to the bottle.
Be ready to clean up – Expect spills, drooling, and dripping as your baby gets used to the cup in the first few days. The first few times will be especially messy.
When to stop using sippy cups?
The phase with the sippy cup, like the one with the bottle, should come to an end too. Bottles and sippy cups become your baby’s constant companion, especially when they begin to walk. Your infant may grow to love the cup.
They will be carrying it around and taking a sip now and then. However, prolonged use of the sippy cup increases tooth decay in babies, as there is usually much more than just water in the cup. More often than not, your infant will be sipping on milk or juice.
While there is no absolute best time to stop using sippy cups, experts suggest that your baby should be drinking out of an open cup by the time they are two years old. After that, your child will be coordinated enough and have better motor skills. So you can start transitioning from the sippy cup to an open cup by the time they are around 18 months of age.
This will give your baby ample time to get used to this new transition as well. Start by holding the cup and giving your baby a few sips, and gradually giving them more control over the process. As with the sippy cups, be ready for a few spills as they get used to the open cup as well.