A growing baby will eventually become ready to transition away from breastfeeding to a sippy cup. When you decide that it’s time for the change, approach the process positively to ensure that your child accepts the new method of drinking without issue. Before long, your little one should use a sippy cup like a pro.
1. Extended Breastfeeding
Breastfeed your baby until at least 12 months of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Past the 12-month point, continue breastfeeding your baby for as long as both you and your baby desire. A sippy cup can become a part of the breastfeeding routine if you use it to offer expressed breast milk to your little one.
2. Initial Transition Efforts
Once your child reaches about 6 months of age, begin introducing the sippy cup to help him acclimate to this new way of drinking, advises the Earth’s Best website. Although expressed breast milk is an obvious beverage choice, you might also give your child water or diluted 100 percent juice. If you provide your child with juice, do not give more than 4 ounces of juice per day, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website.
3. Proceeding Patiently
The process of moving from breast to sippy cup often requires adjustment for a child due to a strong emotional attachment to breastfeeding, according to the Children’s Physician Network. By transitioning slowly, you enable your baby to adjust without anxiety and stress. A gradual transition also helps you avoid engorgement discomfort, which can occur if you reduce the frequency and duration of breastfeeding abruptly. As you slowly encourage your baby to drink more liquids from the sippy cup, he should become more adept at the skill of drinking.
4. Sippy Cup Concerns
Although sippy cups offer a convenient method of cup-drinking for young children, some concerns exist about using them. Using a sippy cup for an extended period may lead to speech problems with articulation and clarity, according to the Pediatrics for Parents website. The issues stem from the position of the tongue while sucking through the spout of the cup. Another safety issue involves a small child falling with a sippy cup spout in her mouth. The force of the fall can cause mouth injuries, states the American Academy of Pediatrics. For safety and to avoid long-term speech issues, transition your child from a sippy cup to a cup with a straw or an open cup.