Transitioning from bottles to cups can be difficult for both parents and children. Babies may develop an emotional attachment to their bottles as a source of comfort as well as sustenance.
As your child grows, bottles can also be harmful to their teeth. Using one for too long will narrow your child’s palate, increasing the need for orthodontic treatment.
In addition, bottles expose a baby’s teeth to liquids for an extended period of time. Liquids such as milk, formula, and juice can increase the risk of tooth decay. You should encourage your child to begin drinking from a cup by the time he or she turns one.
The choice of a child’s training cup should be carefully considered. There are many and varied options available. Here are some things to consider when selecting a cup for your child:
When selecting a training cup style, keep your child’s goals in mind at all times. Cups marketed as “no spill” often contain a special valve beneath the spout that is intended to prevent easy spilling but also prevents sipping. Rather than replacing a bottle with another type of cup, these cups require your child to suck on the spout, thus slowing their training in cup usage. In some cases, these valves may even require a high level of suction, making them difficult to operate.
You should choose a cup with a simple spout rather than one with a “no spill” spout. These cups are convenient to use for your child and will make it easier for them to learn to drink. It may be easier for small hands to hold cups with handles. Look for a cup with a weighted base that can self-right itself if spills are a concern.
Whenever possible, you should phase out the bottle in favor of the cup rather than try to change everything all at once. Once your child is able to use the cup, limit the bottle to water. This can help make the bottle less desirable. You may provide the bottle less frequently over time to allow your child time to adjust. Once your child has mastered training cups, you may introduce a small plastic cup without a lid. When the child is able to use this new cup, you may discontinue the use of the training cup.
It is our goal to ensure a smooth transition from a bottle to a cup for your child when the time comes. To learn more about bottle-to-cup transitions or to schedule an appointment with our office, please contact us. Our team is available to assist you.