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Q&A:
How do I wean my daughter from the bottle to the sippy cup?

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Question


How do you wean from the bottle to the sippy cup? I've been working with my 15-month-old daughter for three months, but she refuses to use the cup. I've tried everything I can think of, but nothing works. I've even tried going cold turkey like her doctor said, but she holds out and just doesn't drink anything. I always give in because I'm afraid of dehydration. Most moms that I talk to haven't had this problem at all, and I don't know what to do.

Answer


You're not alone! This is a common problem for many toddlers, and some families don't do well with the "cold turkey" approach. Here are a few helpful tips that might work for your daughter:

• Although 12 months is a good time to start transitioning your baby to the cup, she really should have been exposed to the cup at least to play with from 6 or 9 months of age. Now you'll need to find a way to make a cup interesting for a toddler. Try some with favorite characters, handles to grab and walk around with, or designs that move in the plastic wall. Put her favorite drink in the cup. Let her play with the cup in the bathtub.

• Make the bottle look less interesting. Put her least favorite drink in it (usually water). Give it to her matter-of-factly at mealtime, or before bed (not in the bed). Use plain-styled bottles.

• Your baby may be using the bottle for purposes other than feeding. Does she soothe or pacify herself with the bottle? If so, give her a hug when she asks for a bottle, and tell her what a "big girl" she is.

• Does she put herself to sleep with a bottle? If so, change the sleeping routine gradually. Introduce a "lovey" that she can hold while she goes to sleep, such as a soft toy or blanket. Tie the lovey onto the bottle at first, until she gets attached to it. Then you can remove the bottle.

• Does she use the bottle as a security blanket, taking it everywhere she goes? If so, transition her over to another security item such as a toy or blanket.

• Use lots of positive "big girl" comments for your daughter. When she is down to fewer than half of her drinks in a bottle, have her help you "send the bottles away." Pack them away in storage or give them away, but do put them out of sight so she's not tempted to go back to the bottle.  
 
 
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