What to do when your baby hates the sippy cup

Whether you’re moving away from the breast or the bottle, one thing is certain: Baby is going to have some thoughts about it. It’s possible that he will love his new sippy cup! Maybe it makes him feel like a big kid, and he wants to use it all the time. Or…maybe not. If you’re in the latter situation, don’t worry. There are a few ways to help Baby and his sippy cup get along a little better.

If he is having a tough time with the transition

Change is hard for everyone, but for Baby, it might seem like major things are changing every day. That’s stressful! Surrounding him with his favorite things, like blankets, stuffed animals, or toys can reassure him that there are plenty of things in his world that he can count on – even if his dishware is changing.

Another way to transition is to make the change more gradual – for example, by starting with a bottle or bottle nipple and swapping it out for a sippy cup once he starts sucking. You could also begin the transition by feeding him the first half of his milk with the bottle, and the second half with the sippy cup.

If he doesn’t like the tip

You can’t necessarily blame Baby for preferring a soft bottle tip or nipple to the harder plastic of most sippy cups. If it’s the tip that Baby objects to, try a different shape or spout. Many sippy cups have flexible tips, and some come with straws or handles that can make drinking a little easier. You can also try dipping the tip into breast milk or formula and using the familiar smell or taste to encourage Baby to try the sippy cup.

If he doesn’t understand how to use it

Baby knows how to make the nipple or the bottle work, but the sippy cup spout can be a little confusing. Try to avoid “no-spill” bottles – they require sucking just like a bottle does, which makes it difficult to move toward drinking from a cup. Touching the spout to the roof of his mouth can trigger his sucking reflex and make it easier for him to drink the liquid from the spout.  

If he is just not ready

Some babies transition to sippy cups as early as 6 months, and others won’t even touch them until past the 1-year mark. You’ve still got some time, so if Baby is firmly against the sippy cup right now, you can wait it out a little longer. You can also go another direction and try a cup with a built-in straw, a regular cup with a straw, or just a regular cup. Some babies can go straight from the bottle to the cup with no problem.

One more thing to note: excessive bottle use, or using a bottle for too long as Baby grows can put him at risk of tooth decay, so the American Dental Association recommends encouraging Baby to transition from a bottle to a training cup by his first birthday.
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