Weaning Baby From Bottle to Cup
Ready to wean your baby to a cup? Here’s how to make the transition easier.
The Road to Sippy Cups: How to Wean Your Baby
Once you think your baby is ready for weaning, what’s the best way to go about it? Parents and pros like Atlanta pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, co-author, with Jana, of Heading Home With Your Newborn and Food Fights, suggest:
- Start weaning baby by skipping a bottle feeding every five to seven days.
- Put whatever liquid your child is used to in his sippy cup -- whether it’s breast milk or baby formula.
- Put a little more liquid in baby’s cup and a little less in his bottle each time.
- If your baby is old enough to show his preferences, let him get involved in selecting the cup -- he’ll be more likely to use it.
- Give your little one the liquids he likes best in the sippy cup and the ones he likes least in his bottle.
How long does weaning to a cup take? It varies, but generally, Shu says, “anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple of months.” It depends partly on the age and development of the baby, as well as the consistency of the parents.
Weaning Baby from the Breast and Bottle: Common Challenges
Expect success when you start weaning baby -- but be prepared for possible delays.
Many babies wean easily. “There was no gradual with [Jeremy],” says FlutterByWolf on WebMD’s parenting boards. “He was receptive enough to go straight from bottle to sippy. Lucky me!”
But a few babies decide they’re not ready to give up the breast or bottle. “My little boy is really into nursing and struggled when we gave him his first sippy cup at six months,” says board member KandBMommy. “He just chewed on the [sippy’s] rubber spout like it was a chew toy.”
If it’s difficult for your little one to make the transition, pros and parents offer these tips:
- Keep using the baby bottle or breastfeeding, but shorten each feeding session.
- Offer your baby his sippy cup first and don’t try the breast or bottle unless he rejects it.
- To prevent your baby from growing too attached to his bottle, don't let him crawl, walk around, or go to bed with it. Because nighttime feedings can be the most difficult to give up for both parent and child, try replacing them with new bonding habits, such as reading a book or looking at the stars together.
- Try different sippy cups. Although sippy cups are still the favored cup for the weaning transition, there are dozens of styles. Some have short, wide spouts or straws; some have handles, others don’t. You -- and your baby -- can only discover which one he prefers through trial and error.
- If your baby continues to resist weaning, let him get into the groove of eating solid foods before trying again. Some children naturally lose interest in the baby bottle or breast once they’re eating three solid meals most days.