Weaning Baby From Bottle
Drinking from a Cup
At about 6 months, your child may want to try drinking from a cup. Let her hold an empty, plastic cup to get used to it. Drinking from a cup is a new skill and takes practice. Start with a cup without a lid on it. Fill it with small amounts of water, formula, breastmilk, or juice. Once your child learns how to use the cup, you can add the lid to prevent spills. Make sure the juice is 100% juice—not juice drinks. You may want to dilute juice with water. Limit juice to 4 ounces a day, so that your child will have an appetite for other foods.
Do not use cows’ milk before 12 months. At 12 months, your child is ready for whole milk. Your child needs whole milk until age 2—not low-fat or skim milk.
As your child learns to use a cup and feed herself, she may begin to breastfeed less often. When you decide to stop breastfeeding, it is best to do it slowly. You can continue to breastfeed as long as you and your child want to.
Giving Up the Bottle
At around 12 months, encourage your child to use the bottle less and the cup more. Slowly cut down the number of bottles and increase the number of cups each day. Morning and evening bottles are often the hardest to give up.
As your child learns to drink from a cup, she may still want a bottle for comfort. To help her feel more secure, try reading a story, singing, or cuddling while she drinks from a cup. When she seems distressed, try giving her a hug instead of a bottle. With your help, she will soon learn other ways to comfort herself.
Using a bottle too much can cause:
- Tooth decay
- Poor nutrition
Your child should be able to drink all of her liquids from a cup by 14 months of age.
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