Transitioning to a Sippy Cup: Part 2

Transitioning to a Sippy Cup: Part 2Navigating your baby’s diet began at birth when you made the best choice to breastfeed. Now she’s moving up in the world and trying new foods and is ready to drink from a sippy cup. Earlier this week we talked about the timeline for transitioning to a sippy cup as well as different types of sippy cups.  Today we’re sharing tips and tricks to help with transitioning to a sippy cup.

Tip #1: Experiment with different types of cups

As we discussed earlier this week, sippy cups come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Start with one that has a soft mouthpiece that will be pliable for your baby to explore in her mouth. If she loves the bottle nipple, a soft sippy cup mouthpiece will be more familiar. Buy a few styles to see what works best for your baby.

Tip #2: Test out different types of liquids

Your baby will be more enthusiastic about transitioning to a sippy cup if she likes what’s being served in it. Some babies prefer sipping on water while others want the comfort of the breast milk they were used to drinking from the bottle.

Tip #3: Allow “playtime” with a sippy cup

Just like figuring out a new toy or puzzle, your baby needs space to play with her sippy cup to learn how to use it. This may mean she tosses it about or even throws it. Allow her playtime to navigate the sippy cup in her own way.

Tip #4: Show your baby how to drink from a sippy cup

Demonstrate how to use a sippy cup by drinking from one yourself. Talk your baby through the steps as well. “Mommy is picking up the sippy cup and bringing it to my mouth. Now I’m going to suck on it. Yum, this water tastes good!” Your baby learns so much from your example.

Tip #5: Wet your baby’s appetite

Help your baby understand what’s in the cup by dabbing a drop on the outside for her to taste. Once she realizes it’s breast milk or whatever else you’re serving, she may be more inclined to try harder to get to the liquid.

Tip #6: Remove the valve

Some cups have a valve that prevents their contents from spilling out when tipped but this feature also makes sucking out liquids harder. Remove the valve while you’re training your baby to use a sippy cup and then replace it once she has the hang of it.

Tip #7: Slowly phase out the bottle

For babies who have a difficult time dropping their bottle habit, try a slow phase out. You can serve some drinks from the bottle and some from the sippy cup until you completely eliminate the bottle. Or you can give the first half of a drink in a bottle so your baby is in the sucking mode and ready for more. Then follow with the second half in a sippy cup.

Tip #8: Give it time but be consistent

Offer a sippy cup at every meal so your baby knows this is now a regular part of her eating routine. If she’s resistant, don’t force her to drink from the cup but ask her several times per meal if she wants it. Over time your baby will learn how to use the cup and will enjoy the independence it offers her.

Tip #9: Don’t let your baby over-drink

For babies who take to sippy cups right away, don’t let your baby drink more than you intend. In this case, fill the cup with only what you want your baby to have. Otherwise your baby may get full on liquid and refuse to eat solid meals.

Tip #10: Make sure your baby gets nutrition elsewhere

On the flip side, if your baby is slow to transition to a sippy cup, do make sure you’re breastfeeding and offering enough solid foods to satiate your baby. Transitioning to a sippy cup should not be at the expense of good nutrition. Sometimes babies begin to drink less breast milk around the time a sippy cup is introduced because they are eating more solid foods. But breastfeeding and providing breast milk in a sippy cup should continue as long as you and your baby desire.

Sources: Parents, BabyCenter and Wholesome Baby Food