Ever since your baby was born, he has been drinking out of a bottle. The only exception to this is the child that was strictly breast fed. The bottle is the only way the baby knows how to drink. He started life with this natural instinct. Now he is a year old and you as a parent, or your pediatrician wants him off of that bottle. Unfortunately you cannot just take the bottle away and expect your child to know how to drink from a sippy cup. You have to take the transition slow and easy.
Start the sippy cup at lunch time or snack time. If you start in the morning when baby wakes up, he may be tired and not up to something new. If you start it to close to bedtime, again he is going to be tired and not as willing to comply to what you are trying to show him. In the afternoon is about the best time. Let him carry the cup around and play with it. He needs to get familiar with it. Put something in it that he really likes. If he favors milk, give him milk. If he favors juice, give him a little bit of juice. This will encourage him more to try the sippy cup.
Show him how to drink out of the cup. Put the cup in your mouth. If you don’t actually want to take a drink, make a sipping sound. Your child will try to imitate you and might get something out of the cup. He will realize that there is something in there that he wants and may try it again. The more he tries to drink out of the cup, the better he will get and the closer you are to getting rid of the bottle.
Take things slow. Don’t automatically take the bottle away and say no more. If your child asks for it when he first starts the sippy cup, give it to him after a few minutes. Work with him to try the sippy cup, but don’t take it too far. Your child and you will both get extremely frustrated and one or both of you are likely to give up. Every time you give your child a drink, try the sippy cup first. Keep encouraging him to drink. Slowly keep giving him the bottle less. He will eventually only ask for the bottle once in a great while. If you are lucky, he may not want the bottle at all.
Praise him. When he finally takes his first sip from the cup, praise him. Let him know he did it right. Show him how proud of him you are. Little children are all for pleasing their parents. If a child knows something will please you, he will keep doing it. If mom and dad are happy, baby is happy.
Persistence and patience are the keys to going from bottle to sippy cup. It may take longer than you the parent wants it to, but if you push the subject harder than the child is willing, the transition will take even longer. The child will rebel and only drink from the bottle or throw the cup when you give it to him. Remember, he is only a year old and doesn’t understand everything. It is up to you to teach him. Give him time and he will catch on to the sippy cup.