Making the switch from a bottle to a cup is a significant milestone, and one that may take some trial and error. Most pediatricians suggest weaning from the bottle by the first birthday to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Try these tips for a smoother transition:
- Introduce milk, juice, or water in a cup on a daily basis for a month before you take the bottle away.
- Gradually decrease the number of bottles over a few weeks, eliminating one bottle at a time. Your child’s favorite bottle-time should be the last to go.
- When you’re down to that last bottle, make it less appealing. If it's the bedtime one, make it water and give it after you brush the child’s teeth.
- If your child seems to miss a particular bottle, introduce a soothing substitute routine. A favorite song, finger play, calming music, a soft blanket or stuffed animal may comfort him. Be prepared for some cranky periods and offer an extra dose of nurturing.
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