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Bottle to Sippy Cup Transition in 3 Simple Steps

Updated on November 27, 2016

How to Transition from Bottle to Sippy Cup or Training Cup

The bottle to sippy cup transition can be a scary change for babies (and parents!). Somewhere towards the end of baby's first year, most parents start moving from a bottle to a sippy cup. I haven't met too many parents, however, who didn't worry about the transition; after all, babies (and children in general) thrive on routine--it's natural to wonder if throwing a new element into the mix is going to disrupt that.

Making the leap doesn't have to cause undue stress--it's just a matter of finding out what works best for both you and your little one. This three-step plan (I call it the "sippy cup secret") worked very well for me; perhaps these easy steps will get your baby drinking from a sippy cup in no time!

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The Big-Boy Sippy Cup: Was He Ready?

I know I wasn't ready for a sippy cup quite just yet!

The only reason I wanted to move my son from a bottle to a sippy cup when I did is because his daycare required it; I certainly was in no hurry to transition. He had just moved from the infant to the toddler class (most babies transition to this class just before or just after they turn one year old), and all children must move from a bottle to a sippy within 30 days. I won't lie--I panicked. We had tried a sippy cup here and there before to no avail--he liked them OK, but more so for chewing than for drinking. I should've known better, since I've worried like this before.

About six months prior, I had to break him of the best newborn swaddle I'd found, simply because he got far too big for it. I wasn't ready. I assumed he wasn't ready. I took off a few days of work and prepared for the worst, sure that I wouldn't be getting any sleep for awhile. I laid him down that night, with arms free, and waited. And waited. And waited. The cries never came.

I watched him on the monitor, wonderfully stretched out and peaceful-looking, until I fell asleep that night. The next thing I knew, it was morning and I wondered why I obsessed for nothing. Often, when we as parents aren't ready for something, our not-so-little babies have different plans. The "sippy cup secret" helped me to panic less, and enjoy the transition more.

All The Sippies I Tried Throughout the Bottle to Sippy Cup Transition - It seemed like so many sippy cups at the time

The lineup I used to transition from bottle to sippy
The lineup I used to transition from bottle to sippy

From left to right, here are the sippy cups I tried as I weaned from bottles (which, by the way, were the Playtex Drop Ins Bottles. The first, the Playtex First Sipster Spill-Proof Cup, is a sippy loved by so many parents, so I felt sure it would work for me. It didn't--my son LOVED to chew on it, but didn't get that you had to tip it back to get anything out of it. We tried this one for many months, thinking he would surely get it eventually, but he never did.

I wondered if he saw the colored-container (and not the "white" of the milk) and that was throwing him off. I then tried the Tilty Sippy Cup, since it got excellent reviews and was available in a clear cup. He actually DID try to drink from this one, but this cup is a bit more advanced and doesn't have a valve, therefore, it was messy to say the least. Not only did he practically choke on the milk/water, but he was at the "throwing" stage, and this cup definitely is not a no-spill cup! He did at least try it, so I was encouraged.

At the insistence of a few parents, I next tried the Nuby No Spill Flip-it Sippy Cup. Actually, my daycare recommended it as well, explaining that soft straws were the next step for babies who didn't respond to the more elementary sippies. We struck out here, as well. The straw was completely foreign to him and using meant he had to master an entirely different skill he had not even experienced yet. The sucking concept with this type of sippy cup was completely different from a bottle, plus, he didn't understand not to tip the cup.

A-ha! It finally click to me and the "sippy cup secret" just about landed in my lap. We would be able to wean him from the bottle, after all.

Simply change one aspect of the sippy cup at a time so you don't overwhelm your child.

Step One: Nuby Staged Bottle

The first step to go from bottle to sippy

Colors vary with this ingenious cup -- my baby is a boy, but I would've paid good money for 20 pink cups if I had to. That's how much I love this sippy cup!

Since I had a bit of success with the clear sippy cup I tried, I knew if I could give him something similar to a bottle, he'd probably at least try it out and take a drink. This sippy is great because it has a bottle top--so it's familiar to your child--but with removable handles to get him or her used to a sippy cup. Admittedly, I had to fool my baby into trying this. I started with his normal bottle, then quickly did a bait-and-switch with this one, mid-feeding. He sucked for a bit, realized what was going on and somewhat freaked out, but only for two seconds. He realized he was too hungry to fight it, and after all, it is sort of a bottle...SUCCESS! We used this one for several weeks, and mid-way through took off the removable handles so he could get used to the curved bottle that most sippies have.

Step Two: Nuby Sipper - Slowly moving towards a true sippy cup

This sippy cup has the soft spout that your baby or toddler has grown accustomed to, but it's a slightly different shape to get him or her used to even more changes.

Nuby 2-Pack Two-Handle No-Spill Super Spout Grip N' Sip Cups, 8 Ounce, Colors May Vary
Nuby 2-Pack Two-Handle No-Spill Super Spout Grip N' Sip Cups, 8 Ounce, Colors May Vary

Just like I did with the first sippy, I only wanted to change a few minor variables as I moved to the next step in bottle weaning. The Nuby No-Spill sippy has a similar shape to the last sippy cup, although it's a bit fatter. The spout is also close to the other, except it's slightly oblong. This gets your baby's mouth used to something slightly different, while still being familiar and not-so-scary. The first time he placed it in his mouth, he was confused but got over it very quickly--I was amazed!

 

Step Three: Nuk Learning System Sippy Cups - Leak-free sippy cups in fun colors

These sippy cups are a great next step once you child makes that initial leap from bottles. After mastering this sippy, your little one can usually easily move either to a straw sippy or to a cup. Bonus: these sippies truly don't leak!

NUK Gerber Graduates Learning System Sports Learning Cup Tumbler, Soccer, 9-Ounce (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
NUK Gerber Graduates Learning System Sports Learning Cup Tumbler, Soccer, 9-Ounce (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Alot of parents stop at Step Two, but I wanted to take it one step further. Since the ultimate goal is to transition from a sippy cup to a real cup, a rimmed sippy cup is the next logical choice. These have a stay-tight lid that doesn't leak. I like that the valve is easily removed, too; when the time comes, I can take that out and he'll learn to drink without a "stopper," therefore getting us very close to drinking from a real cup.

 

Success! Bottle to Sippy Cup (Rimmed) Transition in About 3 Weeks

Success! Bottle to Sippy Cup (Rimmed) Transition in About 3 Weeks
Success! Bottle to Sippy Cup (Rimmed) Transition in About 3 Weeks

Does Your Baby Drink Water or Juice From a Sippy... - ...but not milk?

Sometimes weaning from the bottle works for some drinks, but not others. Many parents report that their babies or toddlers will take a sippy cup with anything other than milk--but once milk is put into it, feeding time becomes a sob-fest. These tried-and-true tips may just work for you.

  1. Try a cup that's completely different from the water/juice sippy cup. If you use a rimmed-cup, for example, try a straw cup. While it's not a bottle, it can teach your child that milk IS available, just not in a bottle (and not in the typical water/juice sippy cup).
  2. Let him see other children drink from non-bottles. If you baby isn't in a socialized setting (i.e. daycare, etc.) he or she may not get the opportunity to see peers drinking from sippies. Consider a playdate with a sippy-drinker so that this can be experienced.
  3. Make it into a game. Chances are, you little one sees you drink from a regular cup all the time. Twist the top off a sippy cup containing milk and allow him or her to drink through it like a "big boy" or "big girl." It may be messy (tip: hold it while they drink), but if you can demonstrate what's in the cup and that it's ok to drink from it, a lightbulb may go off!
  4. Consider not giving milk in anything but a sippy and going cold turkey. This is hard for parents, and many use it as a last resort. You might have to go up to two days before your child is ready to try the milk in the sippy, but oftentimes, this does work.

Remember: Dairy and Calcium Can Come From a Variety of Sources

Cheese and yogurt are great sources of calcium. If your child is revolting against sippy cups with milk, up the intake of these foods for proper nutrition.

© 2012 Lauren

What Sippy Cups Have You Tried to Help Transition from the Bottle? - What tips can you share?

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    • KReneeC profile image

      KReneeC 5 years ago

      When my babies were just turning 8 mos, my mother-in-law decided she was going to start them on sippy cups. (She's our sitter). I, of course, was irritated at first, and a bit panicky. But they didn't seem to mind it, they just liked to chew on it. I am sure I could take away the bottles completely now I just refuse to, (they're now 10 mos). We put no pressure on them to get off the bottle........... Great lens!!!

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Great lens. We're slowly working at transitioning from bottle to sippy cup! Thanks!

    • profile image

      aishu19 5 years ago

      Bottle to sippy was not such a tough transition for me. Buy Sippy to cup..that was quite a challenge. I hope new moms get great tips from here

    • SoSimplyStephanie profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago from DeFuniak Springs

      Nice lens... My baby girl is 19 months old and has been using a sippy cup since she was about 11 months with everything EXCEPT MILK. She still refuses to drink milk out of a sippy and as sad as it is to admit, she still has a bottle for her milk . I have tried everything...we are just now getting her fully of off formula. She wasn't feeling the moo cow too well. We have had to had 1 scoop of formula to 8 oz of milk just to get her to consider it. Now that we have her on milk we have got to get her off the bottle. Weird though, juices, water or any other drink she will do just fine with a sippy. Any suggestions?

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      I have used sippy cups but its never works. My son still insist to have his bottle when it is time to drink.

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 5 years ago from Florida

      @SoSimplyStephanie: It does get harder the older they get, doesn't it? From speaking with my friends (and I have a very large network of mommy-friends!), your problem isn't uncommon. So many children will drink anything BUT milk from a sippy cup. What does she do if you try to give her milk in the sippy cup? Throw a fit? Flat-out refuse? You might try going cold turkey (commit to a small period of time, say 2 days) to see how she does. Since she's an older baby, she can certainly get the nutrition from other means during the experiment.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      my "little one" is 45 yrs old but I remember..don't remember any problem..when I think back that far I still laugh at the vision of him in the high chair covered in spaghetti

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 5 years ago

      My kids never drank bottles (I nursed) and as they had older siblings, they didn't even want sippies. They wanted real cups. Messy, but they all figured it out.

    • talkies lm profile image

      talkies lm 5 years ago

      great tips! i am going through this transition with my little one now

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image

      thememorybooksh1 5 years ago

      Good Tips! Thanks for sharing them with us .

    • profile image

      trendydad 5 years ago

      nice lens, which i would of read this before my kids out grew these sippy cups

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 5 years ago

      I utilized their natural inclination for sucking to introduce the straw. Then we eliminated the whole accidental upside-down cup thing.

    • alexis84 profile image

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Great lens! I recently made the transition from bottle to sippy cup with my little'uns. It's a real struggle, but the best advice is to stay strong. They'll work everything out in the end (much like babies and toddlers work out crawling and sitting up!)

      Alex

      x

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Kids drink both water and juice from Sippy cups

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Very helpful information for parents. I didn't know there were so many types of sippy cups available.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      What a sweet lens. It reminds me of my little ones. I have absolutely no idea how we made this transition, like most of childhood that seemed difficult it now is a no brainer with my grown up boys.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am in the process of trying to get my almost 9 month old daghter to drink from a sippy as well. I have been trying for at least a moth or so and no progress. I have had sveral people tell me that the best way to get her to drink was to completely eliminate the bottle. The only thing is that I am afraid that she will not drink at all due to her fear of the sippy. Others have told me to take it when they are the hungriest the most. I have looked up some videos on You Tube that shows babies drinking from sippy cups and she loves to watch them. When I try to get her to do the same, she still just refuses it, in fact, almost scared. I recently started to get her to eat finger food and she is doing pretty well. Since I have started that she will not finish her bottle. Sometimes she will eat all of her finger foods or solids as well, depending on what seems to be what she wants the most at the time. The biggest problem that is happening is getting her to gain weight. She was 6lbs. 9oz. at birth and as of last week she weighed in at 14lbs. 1oz. when I had to take her to take her to the pediatric pulmonary about testing how she eats. They sent in a nutritonist who had me thiken her formula ( 3 scoops of formula 5oz. water), plus adding a little bit of rice after it has been mixed. I am afraid this will make her so full that she won't eat anymore She has a check up with her pediatrican on the 14th and I am afraid to see what her weight will be.

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 5 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: I think if you are concerned with her weight you might need to keep her on the bottle and just focus on getting her weight up, first. Give her one and allow her to play with it, but don't be too concerned with her actually getting nutrition from a sippy quite just yet. If she is doing well with finger foods, that's great! High-fat (yet healthy) options may be just what she needs (for example, my little guy LOVES avocado!). You are right, though, sometimes the food intake decreases the bottle intake...but that's ok! As long as she is getting adequate calories overall! Keep thickening her formula and adding in healthy finger foods--work on getting her weight up and transitioning to the sippy cup will come naturally, later. Good luck momma!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @LNAngel: Thank you so much! I do agree with you and the pulmonary. I am hopiing that all it is is just where her body is getting used to such a change in her formula. She was taking 6 onces at a time. The directions on the can gives the number of scoops for 4 ounces or 8 oz which is 4 scoops for 8oz. Which she was doing fine with just no weight. I was having trouble getting her to finish her bottle in the recommened time frame when she was born so the doctors had her go through all kinds of tests such as a Modified Bolvarian swallow. I do hope things work out soon. Her formula is prety thick now, in fact, I had to give her a wider nipple. Once again thanks for the response!

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 5 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Oh yes, I remember all too well widening the nipples--my husband and I would try to time it perfectly where we'd try a nipple we had cut and if he started screaming while feeding my husband would be with a knife to quickly widen it before he had a big breakdown. :) Ah, those were the days (he was probably around 5 months). Also, most babies dramatically slow down in the weight gain department once they start becoming active. For example, my son was 23 lbs at 6 months, but at his 15-month appt. was only 28 pounds. Due to the crawling and then cruising he starting burning a lot of calories. See what the doc says later this month--and do provide an update if you remember. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for this. I have 11 month old twins and I have been totally stressing out about moving them from bottles to sippy cups. I introduced sippy cups around 7 months and we have tried about 3 kinds but only for water and with very little success. They love their bottles and still get about 5 per day and before coming across this article I had no idea how I was going to approach the switch. I am buying those Nuby 3 stage bottles right now and we are going to start this plan immediately! Thank you!

    • profile image

      athorne 5 years ago

      @anonymous: No Problem. Right now my daughter just wants to play with hers, but it does look like she drinks a little bit of it. She just sprouted 2 upper teeth so I am sure the nipple and cold water makes it feel better. Good luck on your Nuby. I have been using Nuk Trendline Learner Cup which seems to be doing well. The nipple is soft and flexible like a bottle nipple only flat. Good Luck!!

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 5 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Good luck!

    • profile image

      milky-way-35977 5 years ago

      To make the baby used to with glasses

    • profile image

      milky-way-35977 5 years ago

      To make the baby used to with glasses

    • Mike Best profile image

      Mike Best 4 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      No tips yet, but a big thanks for the information. Our pediatrician prints out a "what to expect" sheet at each check-up, and when we saw sippie cups for our 7-month-old, we nearly fell out of our chairs. A little intimidated but excited for this next stage in his development.

    • Marie Melodie profile image

      Marie Melodie 4 years ago

      o yeah ! haha my first baby had no problem whatsoever, I even gave her a glass with a straw at maybe 9 months. She got that right away and there is no mess. However... my new little one, just can't do it. He does not get it at all. He just thinks those sippy cups are for his teeth to chew one. He is gonna be one and he is still surprised when liquid come out of there. So funny.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      That's cool to hear about how your oldest id with her transition. My mom had mentioned about using a straw as well and I have even had friends metion it as well. My daughter just turned 1 last month and she is getting better. The WIC program gives me vouchers for juice now and she loves grape juice. The good thing is that she will drink an ounce or so from her sippy with the grape juice but not her milk or even apple juice. Right now I am glad that she does drink something from it.

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Isn't it strange how they pick and choose?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @LNAngel: So true!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Keep the tips coming. I enjoyed it!

    • cakeandpie profile image

      cakeandpie 4 years ago

      My daughter would onlydrink from Nuby cups- the soft spout was great, and this was transitioning from breast to cup!

    • perfectbabybuys1 profile image

      perfectbabybuys1 4 years ago

      Great info! Thanks so much. These are helpful.

    • profile image

      mslcommerce1 4 years ago

      Great Info and Great Lens ! I like it!

      Please see my lens http://www.squidoo.com/fisher-price-baby-monitor

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      great lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My son is 1 yr and 5 months and ive been trying to switch him from bottle to sippy cup since he was 9 months. No success. Every time I go to the dr or wic I get told time and time again you NEED NEED NEED to get him off that bottle. I have told my family to help me but like the whole world things he's still too little that he's just a baby. He has like all his teeth and 2 days ago I finally decided to go cold turkey with him. He cries for about an hour before giving in or just falling asleep. Its so stressful and I don't know what else to do. Another problem which is why its so hard to wean him is because he developed the habit of waking up about 2-5 times a night for a bottle. This is mainly the reason im stressing about taking his bottle away. I wonder what other parents have gone through this.

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: I think lots of parents have gone through the night weanings. I'm sure you know that by this age, he wakes (as you say) out of habit and not out of hunger. What I would do at night, is when he cries out, go into his room and give him a bottle of WATER. Gently pat him on the back, then leave. This way he'll learn that he's only getting water and not milk. Most kids will not want this and will drop the water fairly quickly. Once he nighttime is under control, then I would worry about the daytime switch--you don't want to do too much because it will stress both him and you out to no end. So once he is sleeping through the night with no wakings, then consider trying out the cup I mention above--the spout is VERY similar to a regular bottle. No matter what you decide to do (switch to my recommendation or go cold turkey) you absolutely must persuade your family to get on board with you. If he gets mixed signals, it's game over.

    • profile image

      mistaben 4 years ago

      Great info for parents.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @LNAngel: Thanks soo much for the advice. I did more research and found out that it will be hard for the first 2-3 days and then they start getting use to it. It has been a week and he is completely and officially off his bottle and uses his sippy cups regularly. He is also sleeping all night. I can honestly say because of his age, cold turkey and crying it out worked for me in a week. I have a sleeping schedule now and I am spending way more time with my baby now during the day instead of feeling tired sleepy and grumpy. Advice gor anyone out there with the same problem. If you decide to go cold turkey just make sure to not do it through a stressful time and that you have support and help from family and/or your spouse. Thanks again. =]

    • LNAngel profile image
      Author

      Lauren 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: I am SO happy to hear this! And with a normal sleep pattern, you, my friend, must feel like a brand new woman!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

      This is such a helpful lens. Know some friends that would have found this info really helpful when they were at this stage.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wow, my youngest is 34 yrs old but I do remember his Sippy Cups but can't remember it being a big transition. Great page for young parents.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 4 years ago

      My babies are both past 30, but we used sippy cups. At the time, there wasn't such a huge variety to chose from. We had Tupperwear cups that a sippy lid fit, and since this also predated the many varieties of travel mugs, I used the same sippy lid for my car cup, so it was just natural that the kids wanted to be like Mommy and drink from a sippy cup. I don't recall any issues, but it was a LONG time ago. I wish I'd had the benefit of great places like Squidoo when I was a young parent. It would have made my life so much easier.

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 4 years ago

      I found it really useful. Very helpful especially to new moms.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great advice here. My daughter used sippy cups for water and juice but went straight from the bottle to a glass at 1 year! It took her ages to finish her milk while someone fed it to her, but it was worth it in the end.

    • AlexTedford profile image

      AlexTedford 4 years ago

      Very cool lens! Thanks!

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Been so long I can't even remember how we did this with mine? Great info though

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips on transitioning from bottle to sippy cup. I am now wanting to work on "sippy" to "big girl cup" what all has worked for you?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! I now working on "sippy"to "big girl" cup. Any suggestions?

    • BelleBanks profile image

      BelleBanks 3 years ago

      I'm one of those that can't get my 14 month old to drink milk from a sippy cup. She actually throws it on the ground once she tastes it and pushes it away. But she drinks just fine when it is water or juice in the sippy. I think I may have to just tough it out and go cold turkey and just throw the bottles away. Not looking forward to it though!

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