Is It Time To Ditch The Baby Bottle?
The majority of us are aware that infants should get either breast milk or formula, or a mix of the two, throughout their first 12 months of life. Proper nutrition is critical for their developing bodies and minds, but their teeth and digestive systems are not yet prepared to fulfill their nutritional requirements only via solids. However, when does the need for bottles cease to exist? Quitting too soon may deprive babies of vital nutrients, but allowing bottle use to continue for an extended period of time also carries dangers. When should a baby discontinue bottle feeding? On this subject, expert opinion is remarkably constant.
Why is weaning your kid from the bottle critical?
If you believed that bottles would be harmless to your kid, it is time to reconsider since prolonged bottle usage may have severe consequences. Several reasons to switch to cups include the following:
Bottles contribute to dental decay
Lactose is a kind of sugar found in milk. When milk is sucked from a bottle, particularly when the infant is sleeping, it may build up in the mouth canal and create caries (baby bottle caries).
Prolonged bottle usage has been linked to obesity
Constant sucking may cause the baby’s adult teeth to become misaligned down the road. Additionally, it may obstruct the development of the face muscles and palate.
Consuming liquids while laying down increases the chance of developing ear infections
Some milk may gurgle up and pool around the eustachian tube. This raises the likelihood of developing ear infections.
When Should Babies Discontinue Bottle Feeding?
Experts suggest that infants begin weaning between the ages of 12 and 18 months. While you may begin introducing a cup as early as six months of age, several indicators can help you choose when to transition from bottle to big-kid cup:
- Your kid is capable of sitting up without help.
- Instead of round-the-clock feeding, your kid will follow a defined procedure and schedule for meals. A mealtime schedule may help maintain consistency once the weaning process begins.
- If your kid has started eating solid meals and can eat from a spoon, the bottle may be nearing its end.
How to Put an End to Bottle Feeding
Bottle-feeding transitions may be challenging and stressful for both you and your baby. Here are some suggestions for making the transition easier and more pleasant for everyone.
Dilute the milk
If your child is having difficulty letting go of the bottle, you may try diluting the milk with half water. Then, as the days pass, gradually increase the quantity of water in the bottle until it is completely empty. It is very probable that your little child may lose interest and begin requesting the sippy cup with the delicious milk.
Ascertain that no stressful situations are imminent prior to initiating the shift. A relocation, the birth of a sibling, or a lengthy family trip may be too much for your infant, and he/she may develop feelings of insecurity and cling to familiar things or rituals.
Around 6-9 months of age, begin using the sippy cup with meals. Once they have mastered the sippy cup, begin the transition by substituting a cup for one normal bottle feeding each day. Continue this for about three days and then add another meal using a sippy substitute. Continue in this manner until all feedings are done using sippy cups rather than bottles. Because babies and toddlers are more clinging in the mornings than at night, it is better to reserve those feedings until the end of the day.
Out of sight, out of mind
When you are weaning, conceal all other bottles so your infant is less likely to request one. When he/she has fully transitioned, you may either hide all the bottles until your next baby arrives, or you can hold a small party and enlist the assistance of your toddler in removing them. Explain that they are now a “big girl” or a “big boy” and no longer need them.
Allow them to choose
Make the transition a memorable event in and of itself by accompanying your child to the shop and allowing them to choose their own cups. Additionally, you may let them choose which cup to use at each feeding.
For some youngsters, gradual removal may fail, and you may need to attempt cold turkey. Each kid is unique, and you must choose what works best for yours.
Sippy cups with a straw
Doctors suggest sippy cups with a firm spout or straw over those with soft spouts. Not only would utilizing a firm spout or straw help their teeth, but it will also simplify the adjustment. Alternatively, you may go for an open cup, such as the Babycup or BabyBjorn Cup.
Find an alternate source of comfort
If your child’s bottle serves as a source of comfort for them, consider finding them an alternative source of security, such as a blanket, doll, or stuffed animal. Communicate with them and ascertain if they are really hungry or if anything else is amiss. When they are unhappy, give them many hugs, cuddles, and diversions.
When your kid uses their cup instead of the bottle, praise and encourage them. Inform them that they did an excellent job, “What a big boy you are,” and “You drank from a cup, just like mommy!” You may even offer them stickers to encourage them to drink from the sippy cup.
When Is The Appropriate Time To Introduce A Sippy Cup?
When introducing solid meals, it is a good idea to offer a sippy cup of water (with the spout removed for easier sipping). Your baby will not drink anything at this age, but will get acquainted with the sippy and begin to connect it favorably with mealtimes.
Introduce the sippy cup early, but do not force it, to make the transition smoother. Babies may acquire habits after the age of one. They begin to acquire strong views after the age of two. As a result, it is advised that you eliminate the bottle entirely by your child’s first birthday.
If you wait longer, your kid may develop an ingrained connection to their bottle that may be difficult to break. If you wean off bottles around age one, the adjustment will likely be considerably simpler.
However, if you are the parent of an older child and have not yet introduced a sippy cup, fear not; we have got some ideas and techniques for you.
Tips For Administering Your Baby’s Access To A Sippy Cup
The introduction may be as simple as daily placement of the sippy cup on your baby’s meal tray and allowing them to explore. Here are a few of our favorite ways to expedite the process:
Begin with a clean cup
Though you should wait about six months (or whenever you decide to introduce solids to your baby) before giving your infant a sippy cup with liquid in it, there is no reason why you cannot let your baby handle an empty one sooner. It is another toy for him to play with, and it will become a familiar item later on when it appears at meals.
Offer it to your kid without expecting anything in return
Offering your infant a sippy cup for the first time does not guarantee that they will immediately begin drinking properly from it. It is almost certain that it will be tossed on the floor, gnawed on, and a few droplets of liquid will wind up in her mouth. You may demonstrate how to use the cup to your infant, but there is no need to be concerned if they are not yet using it properly.
It should be filled halfway with water, breastmilk, or formula
Though your kid will undoubtedly enjoy a sip of juice, you should avoid giving it often because of its high sugar level. It is best to entirely avoid juice consumption in babies under the age of one year. All your baby needs is water, breastmilk, or formula, whether in a bottle or a sippy cup.
Select a sippy cup that is suitable for the child’s age
When it comes to selecting a sippy cup for your infant, there is no right or wrong answer. However, some are undoubtedly simpler to manage than others for the younger members of the audience. This option basically combines your baby’s bottle and sippy cup, and it is probable that the bottle manufacturer your kid presently uses provides something similar.
By the age of 12 months, many children will have little difficulty giving up the bottle. If your kid is immediately drawn to the cup, try taking a few additional steps. Introduce an open cup as soon as feasible and provide straw cups for occasions when large messes are required.
As soon as your kid is at a developmentally appropriate age, begin using a cup for liquids, including milk. Include a straw cup or an open cup with meals to teach children to drink with their food. Allowing toddlers to drink from a single location develops a more attentive habit and may help prevent accidents caused by falling with a bottle or cup in their mouth. Hopefully, this post will help you in making that change.