Getting your child to give up their bottle can be very difficult.1
When’s the right time to stop using a bottle?
Babies should be encouraged to drink from a cup as soon as they can sit unsupported (which is around 6 months of age).2 The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends complete bottle weaning before your child is 18 months of age.1
When your baby reaches their first birthday, you should substitute a cup for their midday bottle. It may take a few weeks for your baby to figure out how to use the cup properly- so be patient. You can then slowly start to substitute the evening and morning bottles. The bedtime bottle will most likely be the hardest to give up- hence save it for last.1
Although your baby may disagree with it- but by the time your baby turns one, their body should no longer require anything to eat or drink during the night.1
Why the Bottle Needs to Go
Prolonged bottle use can:1
- Cause tooth decay
- Cause ear infections in children who drink from bottle while lying down2
- Lead to excess consumption of milk than required1
Teaching your child to use the cup
By the time your baby is 6 months old, they are ready to learn to drink from a cup. Teaching your kid to use a cup could be a slow and messy process.3
The following few tips may help you when your child is learning to drink from a cup:3
- Get a small plastic, non-breakable cup which is easy to grip and hold.
- Let your child play with the cup first so that they get used to the way the cup feels.
- When your child uses the cup, guide them by holding the cup too.
- Fill the cup with only a small quantity of liquid to reduce spills.
- You must have already observed that babies love to copy. Drink from a cup in front of them during mealtimes to show your child how it’s done.
Few things to remember
- Do not give fruit juices, soft drinks, formula, or milk in Sippy cups to the child at bedtime or nap time.2
- Sippy cup should only contain milk or water when offered between meals. Juice should be restricted to mealtimes.2
- Avoid giving other sugar-containing drinks2
You can talk to your paediatrician about any questions you may have about weaning your child from their bottle.1
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Weaning from the Bottle [Internet]. Available at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/aap-press-room-me.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. A pediatric guide to children’s oral health. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Ora... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.
- Children learning to feed themselves. [Internet]. Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/breastfeeding-bottle-feeding-solid.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.