Don't be in such a rush to push the sippy cup

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  February 8, 2012 06:00 AM

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My 18 month old refuses to drink milk from a sippy cup. She gladly drinks juice & water from her sippy, but no matter the type of sippy cup I put milk in she won't drink it (I've tried her favorite existing cups and have also tried a variety of new cups). She only wants milk in her bottle. To give her credit, she will occasionally try to drink some milk from the sippy, but she ends up gagging on the milk and then refuses to try any additional sips. Most times she simply refuses the sippy with milk by saying no and walking away or by having a meltdown (especially if she has specifically asked for her "bubba"). How do I successfully introduce her to milk in a sippy to help her make this transition away from bottles? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks in advance!

From: Sarah, Avon, MA

Dear Sarah,

This isn't about not wanting milk in a sippy cup, it's about not wanting to give up the comfort, coziness and closeness that comes from sitting in your (or someone else's) lap while she drinks milk from a bottle. What's the big rush, anyway? She's already demonstrated that she can use the sippy cup. Stop pushing milk in the cup and enjoy that she's still wants to sit still long enough to take refuge in your lap and cuddle up for milk in her bottle. Our kids grow up fast enough as it is! Don't sweat this one, she'll give it up when she's good and ready, meanwhile, give her what she needs.

Readers, do you agree?

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9 comments so far...
  1. Many toddlers get weaned from the bottle probably at average 12 months. Some earlier. Some a tad later. I know people who got their 6,7, or 8 month old using a sippy cup and did well. That doesn't work for everyone. 18 months...em..it may be a little "old" to be on a baby bottle but it isn't the end of the world either. I agree with Barbara to a point. But you don't want her to be 2 years old with a baby bottle either. Leave the sippy cup on the table and eventually she will go to it. She isn't going to let herself go thirsty. Not for that long anyway. She will meltdown but as they say,"this, too,shall pass". Keep praising her and telling her how much of a big girl she is.

    Posted by jd February 8, 12 07:31 AM
  1. Hmmm....maybe this was implied and I missed it but I don't see any evidence that the toddler is drinking her milk from the bottle in anyone's lap. Nonetheless, I don't see the big deal. She's not even two. Let her have the bottle and let the love of it die out naturally. Perhaps prop up the sippy as a big girl thing when she uses it for juice or water. Forcing it will only make the transition harder.

    Posted by Linney February 8, 12 09:46 AM
  1. Yes, I could not agree more with Barbara!!

    Posted by Sarah E February 8, 12 10:45 AM
  1. I agree with Barbara and the other commenters...but my pediatrician would not agree at all. My son is the same age as the letter writer's daughter, and ever since his 12-month appointment, our doctor has chided us for allowing him to have a bottle at all. He drinks water from a cup all day long (he doesn't like juice), but there are certain times of the day when he likes his bottle with some milk. I haven't tried to wean my son from the bottle, but I am dreading the 2-year appointment if he hasn't decided to give it up by then.

    Posted by abd February 8, 12 11:46 AM
  1. Pick a date down the road for No More Bottle Day. The day before her birthday, fourth of July, whatever. Or pick a month and let her choose a day. Circle it on the calendar and remind her as it gets closer. When No More Bottle Day comes around, ceremoniously get rid of the bottles.

    You could also try a non-sippy, regular cup for the milk. Sippy cups aren't really a necessary transition to cup use, they're just neater because the lids cut down on big spills. Make sure she's sitting down and start with a very small amount in the cup.

    Posted by di February 8, 12 12:30 PM
  1. My niece had a bottle until she was four for this reason - she wouldn't drink milk from a sippy. My SIL couldn't bear to see her NOT drink milk, so it went on for far too long....and eventually they gave up the bottle but she NEVER went to drinking milk from a cup! Now she's almost nine and still won't drink milk. Just something to think about. Some kids are truly resilient to these changes no matter how you time it. They're people, after all.

    Posted by RH February 9, 12 05:19 PM
  1. My son is 16 months and began daycare this month. They do not allow bottles or sippy cups. I was surprised and thought this was too early developmentally but we needed him in that school and it had a great reputation so really wanted him there. They use disposable plastic cups and we started him on that but he was crushing them and I was concerned about him cutting his hand. We actually got him used to drinking from a cup by putting VERY small sips one at a time into a lightweight, metal shot glass. It was the same size as the cups used at school and he was excited to be drinking in the same way adults do. He still makes a mess and needs his shirt changed throughout the day but he's been at the daycare for a few weeks and hasn't had any meltdowns not being able to drink from a sippy cup or bottle. If you're just trying to get her off the bottle but she isn't willing to drink milk from a sippy cup, it might be worth a try to let her use a small cup. We still give my son a bottle at night to go to sleep but he doesn't rely on it to fall asleep since he takes a nap at school.

    Posted by Andrea February 23, 12 09:27 AM
  1. Hi Andrea, I am going through the same situation, my son is going to start daycare in a month and they do not allow the bottles, and I am really worried because he loves his bottle, he takes his bottle 3 times a day.
    I am worried because he uses his bottle to fall sleep, and he doesnt want to take the sippy cup for milk, I know is going to be a hard transition for him to go to daycare and I dont want him to feel worse because he doesnt like to sippy cup
    Any suggestions?

    Posted by Carol July 16, 12 03:50 PM
  1. Hi Andrea, I am going through the same situation, my son is going to start daycare in a month and they do not allow the bottles, and I am really worried because he loves his bottle, he takes his bottle 3 times a day.
    I am worried because he uses his bottle to fall sleep, and he doesnt want to take the sippy cup for milk, I know is going to be a hard transition for him to go to daycare and I dont want him to feel worse because he doesnt like to sippy cup
    Any suggestions?

    Posted by Carol July 16, 12 03:50 PM
 
9 comments so far...
  1. Many toddlers get weaned from the bottle probably at average 12 months. Some earlier. Some a tad later. I know people who got their 6,7, or 8 month old using a sippy cup and did well. That doesn't work for everyone. 18 months...em..it may be a little "old" to be on a baby bottle but it isn't the end of the world either. I agree with Barbara to a point. But you don't want her to be 2 years old with a baby bottle either. Leave the sippy cup on the table and eventually she will go to it. She isn't going to let herself go thirsty. Not for that long anyway. She will meltdown but as they say,"this, too,shall pass". Keep praising her and telling her how much of a big girl she is.

    Posted by jd February 8, 12 07:31 AM
  1. Hmmm....maybe this was implied and I missed it but I don't see any evidence that the toddler is drinking her milk from the bottle in anyone's lap. Nonetheless, I don't see the big deal. She's not even two. Let her have the bottle and let the love of it die out naturally. Perhaps prop up the sippy as a big girl thing when she uses it for juice or water. Forcing it will only make the transition harder.

    Posted by Linney February 8, 12 09:46 AM
  1. Yes, I could not agree more with Barbara!!

    Posted by Sarah E February 8, 12 10:45 AM
  1. I agree with Barbara and the other commenters...but my pediatrician would not agree at all. My son is the same age as the letter writer's daughter, and ever since his 12-month appointment, our doctor has chided us for allowing him to have a bottle at all. He drinks water from a cup all day long (he doesn't like juice), but there are certain times of the day when he likes his bottle with some milk. I haven't tried to wean my son from the bottle, but I am dreading the 2-year appointment if he hasn't decided to give it up by then.

    Posted by abd February 8, 12 11:46 AM
  1. Pick a date down the road for No More Bottle Day. The day before her birthday, fourth of July, whatever. Or pick a month and let her choose a day. Circle it on the calendar and remind her as it gets closer. When No More Bottle Day comes around, ceremoniously get rid of the bottles.

    You could also try a non-sippy, regular cup for the milk. Sippy cups aren't really a necessary transition to cup use, they're just neater because the lids cut down on big spills. Make sure she's sitting down and start with a very small amount in the cup.

    Posted by di February 8, 12 12:30 PM
  1. My niece had a bottle until she was four for this reason - she wouldn't drink milk from a sippy. My SIL couldn't bear to see her NOT drink milk, so it went on for far too long....and eventually they gave up the bottle but she NEVER went to drinking milk from a cup! Now she's almost nine and still won't drink milk. Just something to think about. Some kids are truly resilient to these changes no matter how you time it. They're people, after all.

    Posted by RH February 9, 12 05:19 PM
  1. My son is 16 months and began daycare this month. They do not allow bottles or sippy cups. I was surprised and thought this was too early developmentally but we needed him in that school and it had a great reputation so really wanted him there. They use disposable plastic cups and we started him on that but he was crushing them and I was concerned about him cutting his hand. We actually got him used to drinking from a cup by putting VERY small sips one at a time into a lightweight, metal shot glass. It was the same size as the cups used at school and he was excited to be drinking in the same way adults do. He still makes a mess and needs his shirt changed throughout the day but he's been at the daycare for a few weeks and hasn't had any meltdowns not being able to drink from a sippy cup or bottle. If you're just trying to get her off the bottle but she isn't willing to drink milk from a sippy cup, it might be worth a try to let her use a small cup. We still give my son a bottle at night to go to sleep but he doesn't rely on it to fall asleep since he takes a nap at school.

    Posted by Andrea February 23, 12 09:27 AM
  1. Hi Andrea, I am going through the same situation, my son is going to start daycare in a month and they do not allow the bottles, and I am really worried because he loves his bottle, he takes his bottle 3 times a day.
    I am worried because he uses his bottle to fall sleep, and he doesnt want to take the sippy cup for milk, I know is going to be a hard transition for him to go to daycare and I dont want him to feel worse because he doesnt like to sippy cup
    Any suggestions?

    Posted by Carol July 16, 12 03:50 PM
  1. Hi Andrea, I am going through the same situation, my son is going to start daycare in a month and they do not allow the bottles, and I am really worried because he loves his bottle, he takes his bottle 3 times a day.
    I am worried because he uses his bottle to fall sleep, and he doesnt want to take the sippy cup for milk, I know is going to be a hard transition for him to go to daycare and I dont want him to feel worse because he doesnt like to sippy cup
    Any suggestions?

    Posted by Carol July 16, 12 03:50 PM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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