Feeding your baby a bottle is one monumental bonding experience, but it can’t last forever. Eventually, you have to stop bottle feeding your baby and move onto other ways to feed them. This usually entails giving your baby a sippy cup.
However, your baby may have other plans. Your baby has spent a good time being fed by you, and they may not like the fact you’re switching. How can you wean your baby without it causing a ruckus in the household? It’s hard, but there are ways.
Before we figure out how, we should first make sure your baby is ready to be weaned from the bottle.
Average Time To Wean
Most kids are ready for weaning around a year to 18 months, but they may be able to try drinking from a cup as young as 6 months. If your baby can sit up, eat their foods using a spoon, like foods that are solid, and have a mealtime routine, it’s usually a sign that they’re ready to be weaned.
Around this age, it’s time to wean your child from their bottles. Doing so means they will be less likely to have dental problems, and it teaches them how to feed.
How To Wean
With all that said, what is the best way to wean and keep the peace in the household? Let’s find out.
Don’t Wean During A Transition Or Change
Some parents decide to wean their child when they’re learning to do other things like walk or crawl. This is not the way to do it! Weaning during a time when they’re busy learning something else can cause stress, and it makes it harder to wean. They’re not being stubborn; there’s just too much going on at once.
Besides a transition, also make sure that your baby isn’t in the middle of a move or a vacation, or another life change. If you think you’re unable to handle stress, think about your baby.
As we said before, a baby can try a cup within 6 months, sometimes as early as 3. You can still bottle feed, but introduce the idea of a cup early. This can help normalize the idea of a sippy cup and make it easier for your baby to handle the transition.
Around 8-10 months, continue adding the sippy cup. In one feeding, usually the smallest, try to use a sippy cup. Chances are, your baby will accept. Over time, replace the bottle feedings with cup feedings. As you feed, do it slowly and make sure that they aren’t choking on the liquid. The milk comes out much differently than a bottle.
Be consistent. When changing up a feeding, continuing making that change and not mixing it up. This can help a baby get used to a sippy cup easier.
Drink From The Cup Yourself
If your baby is skeptical about the cup, drink from it a bit yourself. Whenever the baby sees their parent drinking from the sippy cup, the baby is more likely to drink from it. With that said, make sure you’re drinking something you like. Spitting out a drink may not be the best move, as your baby will associate the sippy cup with something disgusting.
Comfort Your Child
Weaning your child can be a challenge, as even when you’re slowly trying to replace feedings, the baby may feel uncomfortable. As you wean your baby, play some soft music, give them a toy, or cuddle them as you are feeding. This can make the baby comfortable and make it easier to feed them. If you try weaning in a busy environment, it can end up backfiring on you.
Sucking On Other Objects Is Okay
If you notice your baby sucking on pacifiers and other safe objects after you wean, it’s nothing to be alarmed about. Many babies do this as a way to keep their behavior over control, and they may do this for a few years. This can be a good replacement for a bottle. It’s of no concern, so allow your baby to suck on a water bottle, thumb, or anything else.
It’s important that you don’t try to go cold turkey. Some parents may feel like just taking away the bottle and replacing it with a sippy cup, but the sudden removal may make a baby fussy. While they will eventually come through, it’s not worth the screaming, and it’s not good for the baby, either. Don’t go cold turkey on this. You’re just going to end up having a bad time, with the baby screaming and you eventually giving the bottle back.
What To Put In The Cup
A cup can have juice and other liquids. If you are planning on feeding your baby animal milk, make sure they are older than a year old, and try to introduce it slowly. You may have to mix it up with other liquids, and then slowly introduce it. When you do give them cow milk, make sure it’s whole milk. This is good for their body. Your baby needs fats that reduced fat milks tend to lack.
As for the bottle, it needs to have formula, breast milk, and water in it. Avoid putting any other liquids on it. Don’t put any juice. Instead, put the juice in a sippy cup. It may be too sweet for your baby at first. In that case, it’s okay for you to water it down a bit. It may be gross to you, but the slight sweetness is better on the baby’s palate.
Make Sure The Cup Is Good For The Baby
With that said, buy a sippy cup with a lid that will stay screwed on, handles that are ergonomic, and free of any toxins. Don’t be afraid to splurge a bit on the cup in order to give the baby the most comfortable experience possible. This will make the baby less picky in the long run.
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