Friday, November 13, 2009

Sippy Cup Troubles

Can any one explain to me what the big deal is with a bottle versus a sippy cup? I know it can be bad for orthodontic purposes, but that won't really matter since she's going to lose these teeth anyway, right?VS.
Reason for asking: our wonderful pediatrician (whom I wholly trust and absolutely love) said she likes to see kids off bottles by 15 months. Well. Gwen knows how to use a sippy cup. She can. She is just stubborn. Doesn't want to. And she absolutely LOVES her bottle. But, I want to do as recommended.

So. Yesterday and today I've tried to only offer Gwen her sippy cup. She refuses it in the morning (she's just so thirsty when she wakes up that she will start to cry as soon as she sees the sippy coming towards her instead of a bottle) so I let her drink her fill from the bottle. I tried really hard to be tough for the rest of the day. Yesterday she only took a few sips (even though we were outside and I knew she was thirsty) and then would shake her head and push it away. She ended up taking only a 45 minute nap because she was thirsty and uncomfortable (and believe me-- I tried to put her back down to finish but she was through!) and then crying for almost an hour and a half once she woke up, refusing to be distracted by any toys or even favorite foods (I'm talking big alligator tears, hugging me while sobbing into my shoulder and pleading "uh-mah-mah-mah"...exactly how am I supposed to refuse that?)-- til I finally gave in and switched the sippy lid for a bottle lid. Then she was all smiles and chugged that milk right down.

Today I lasted til dinner, then gave in and again offered her the bottle because I knew she was thirsty and since she ate tons of green beans, mashed potatoes and barbeque pheasant-- I figured she sort of earned the bottle.

Okay. I know I need to be tough. If she knows that crying and refusing the sippy is eventually going to earn her the bottle, then she'll do that every time. Guaranteed. She's no dummy. However, I can't help but wonder if there aren't better methods out there.

  • Should we take the bottle away cold turkey? Force her to use the sippy or nothing else? If so, do I really need to do something that drastic NOW since she just barely turned 1 and 15 months is still almost 3 months away?
  • Should we wean her off slowly by only offering the bottle at certain times of day? (if so, when is best? How do I actually do that?)
  • Should we encourage greater proficiency with the sippy by putting delicious drinks ONLY in there like juice so that she will willingly choose the sippy cup over the bottle?

What have you done? What actually WORKS, folks?

and again, back to my original question, why is this a big deal anyway?


  1. My pediatrician told me the same thing when Sydney was 15 months old and still on the bottle. If babies drink from bottles too long they mess up their teeth--and baby teeth do set the stage for permanent teeth. The pediatrician made me feel like a lousy mom for not trying to give Syd sippies earlier. So we went cold turkey at 15 months. Syd will no longer drink milk (except chocolate milk) because she only likes it in a bottle and I won't give her one, but she drinks water all the time and loves her sippy. I actually give her a Camelbak water bottle just like what I use, and she's really good at using it. She never had a "lovey" before but when we took the bottles away we started giving her a blanket to sleep with and cuddle. Now she loves the blanket. She was upset and we battled for about 3 days and then she was over bottles. I say wait until closer to 15-18 months, ask the pediatrician why it's a big deal, and do what you feel is right!!

  2. (That comment was from Cami Evans, by the way. I was accidentally in my husband's email account.)

  3. First, it's more for the palette, not the teeth. Deforms the roof of the mouth. I'm not exactly sure how that's life-altering, but dentists act like it's a big deal.

    Second, as far as breaking her of the habit, keep trying! With Asher we got the sippy cups that have soft tips, like a bottle. He did great with those. We didn't introduce sippies until his first birthday. But also, he has a big brother that he always wants to imitate.

    You might try offering her both, with something boring like water in the bottle and something yummy like juice in the sippy. She might decide she'd rather have the sippy.

  4. Alright cuz. I feel as though I'm always giving advice, and maybe I talk too much, but whatever. I've done this a couple times. So I feel as though I might actually know what I'm talking about -- for once!

    Here's the thing. This is what I've been told: Drinking from a bottle actually puts the liquid closer to the teeth and if you do that for too long it can lead to more cavities, blah blah blah. It can also change the shape of the palette which eventually leads to overbites, blah blah blah. If you have a thumb sucker -- I have 2 -- or a binky baby -- got one of them too -- their palette has already changed, they will have a slight over bite. Gasp!

    The thing with sippy cups is they make them so hard to suck out of because everyone wants one that doesn't drip. So they make them so they don't drip. They also make them incredibly difficult for a child to get anything out of them without a LOT of work! I mean, have YOU tried drinking out of a sippy cup? Of course kids are going to want the bottle -- it's a heck of a lot easier!

    The point of the sippy cup is to get the kids ready to drink out of a regular size glass. With both Tyler and Adeline I got the cheap "disposable" sippy cups and filled them with water and left a couple around the house every day -- obviously I changed out the water every day. That was all the drinking they had except at meal time when I'd give them milk. Both Tyler and Adeline were drinking out of sippies by 1 year old.

    Try teaching her to drink from a straw. They have sippy cups with straws. Straws are much easier to get stuff out of anyway. Not so much hard work.

    Or just skip the sippy cup all together. Addie's attention span with sippy cups was short lived because she wanted to drink from a big glass like Tyler did.

    Anyway. Don't stress over it. There are worse ways you can mess up your kid than having them on a bottle for too long and giving them an overbite!

  5. I would say don't push her right now. She's just barely a year - three months is a big time frame in her life, and she will grow a lot between now and then! With Logan I did put parameters on when the bottle was offered - morning and night. During the day - especially before his nap, was hard for a little bit, but he got used to it and did fine eventually. It takes a few days (maybe a week or more) to fight through the transition, but as you mentioned, if you eventually give in, then she will continue to push and push you. So stay strong and know that it's for her good and that you're not torturing her, you're helping her. It's like the sleep training deal. I would say start the routine of a specific schedule of bottle use, while still offering the sippy throughout the day. I wouldn't push the juice-only too much - Logan got addicted and refused to drink anything else besides juice from the sippy ... which kind of defeated the purpose of getting him off the bottle. After you have the bottle routine down and she knows when she can and cannot have it, then right around 15 months I would take that away. I actually took Logan off the bottle on a trip to Utah, because I forgot to pack the bottles. I was so stressed and worried about it, and then he did totally fine. It helped that it was a different place and new distractions. I know Gwen loves her giraffe - and I don't know if you offer it to her all day long. But Logan has a bear, and that helped a lot too during that time period. They're loosing a valuable soothing mechanism with the bottle, and it made a big difference to have a replacement for it. However, if Logan plays with his bear all day, then it's not the soothing, restful, nap-inducing bear. If I keep it in his crib throughout the day, then he's so excited to snuggle with it and hold it that it helps distract him a little from missing the bottle and helps him fall asleep. Does that make sense? I know you are getting a lot of advice - pick and choose what works best for you. Watching other kids use sippys helped Logan too - so we should play together more often. :)

  6. You have to try all kinds of sippy cups to find the one that works for her.. I think we tried five different kinds before we found one that she would even try, and even then it was a battle. Lucy liked the Nuby ones with the tops that most resemble bottles. I have a pretty relaxed pediatrician but she was really strict about the bottles for mouth development and bottle rot, it can start rotting their teeth apparently as well for some reason. Its definitely not easy, but you will make it work, you're a great mom!

  7. Edward is capable (not great, but definitely capable) of using a normal, open cup but generally won't if there is a sippy cup available. I try about once or twice a week to get him to drink out of his "new cup" and it turns out like this: he'll me ask for his cup.
    I say "You have a cup, Edward."
    He says "'nother cup."
    "Edward, you have a cup."
    "Pweeees! 'nother cup, pwees!"
    I even tried coaxing him with juice in the open cup, but then he gets very excited and douses himself: "Shirt...sticky."

  8. I don't really know what the big deal is medically speaking, but I hate seeing 2+ year olds drinking from bottles. Here's what I did with Davin, who was also attached to his bottle. When he turned 1 I only gave him a bottle first thing in the morning and at night before bed. I gave him 1/2 juice 1/2 water (less sugar) in a sippy every lunch time and after his nap. I also offered milk in the sippy, but he didn't usually drink it. I didn't worry too much about that becuase he was still drinking plenty from his bottle morning and night. I can't remember how long I did that for, but eventually I stopped giving him the night time bottle and then got rid of the morning bottle last. He didn't drink much, even of the juice, out of the sippy for a while, but I think he was fine (not dehydrated). Isn't parenting hard? I swear if we could just drug them to sleep and feed them intravenously until they are at least 2 life would be SO much easier. :) Good luck!

  9. For Joey, he didn't like the bottle or a cup. He just didn't like to eat. BUT I found he REALLY did like straw sippy cups - the kind that has a straw instead of a sippy spout. So I just took him straight to those even though they say 2 y/o or up. And then with Savanna, since I already had a million straw sippy cups I started her on those, but she wasn't too keen on them, but just recently i bought a few regular sippy cups and she went nuts over them! Like it was all new!

    What I would suggest is to buy a variety of different kinds of sippy cups and set them out and let her choose which she wants. If she feels like she's in charge, then she'll be happier (that's how my independent girl is!!) Also, just take one bottle out a week - slowly. Savanna just turned 15 months and she still occasionally gets a bedtime bottle - but that's the only one she gets, and it's not every day. i would say slowly weaning is best.

    my favorite brand for sippy cups (both straw and regular) is playtex, followed by gerber. I don't like the avent sippy cups at all.

    Good luck!!

  10. I know exactly what you're going through. With Makenzie, my mother in law told me that with all 4 of her kids, on their 1st birthday she just took the bottle away and voila! they were off the bottle. I felt so much pressure to do that with Makenzie, but GIVE ME A BREAK, yeah right!! It was so painful for everyone, really. I was relieved when my pediatrician also said 15 months. So I did pretty much the same as what Shannon said she did. I would still give it to them in the morning and sometimes at night if they really needed it... but whenever I could get away with not giving it to them, I would. And I tried really hard not to offer it during the day. Breakfast is the hardest because they wake up hungry and you gotta get them used to just eating something when they're starved instead of the bottle. Anyway, both Makenzie & Jarom were off the bottle during their 14th month. Some people get away with 12 months but not me, and I wouldn't feel pressured to make the switch right now, just start offering the bottle less, ya know? Good luck!

  11. There are some great suggestions on here, Mom! What has always worked best for me is to try something new in the middle of the day, lunch time. Not right when she wakes up, not right before she wants to sleep for the night. Or maybe even during a morning or afternoon snack because it's small and short. Try it, suggest and encourage it, let her say no and then not give her what she wants until the next meal. Maybe after a while of saying no after trying it she will try it more and longer until you've got one less bottle time a day. I like the yummy juice in the sippy too. Fortunately, I haven't had any issues with Charlotte being picky about what her milk comes in, so I would probably go with someone who has more experience. Good luck! - Meagan

  12. I can totally relate with your post as well as everyone else's comments. I started offering Dallas sippy cups at 6 months old, hoping he would eventually get used to them, but it wasn't until about a month ago that he finally gave in and stopped screaming at the sight of it and refusing to even take a sip. He refuses juice, no matter from a bottle or sippy, but now drinks water from his sippy all day long. Occasionally, I can get him to drink a few swigs of milk from it, so I take what I can get.

    The key is perseverance, and just like with new foods, you keep offering it until after the 50 millionth time, they finally give in. (He also loves Winnie the Pooh and we pretended Winnie was drinking from the sippy cup, as well as did a few days where we only offered him his sippy during the day, and he eventually caught on.)

    We've been slowly eliminating bottle feedings, so now Dallas pretty much only does the feedings he's most attached to, morning and evenings. He just turned 14 mos. but I think somewhere around 15 mos. if he's still stuck on his bottle, which I'm sure he will be, we'll just have to go cold turkey. Especially with another baby on the way in 3 and a 1/2 mos.

    We also tried lots of different sippy cups. He hated the Avent ones--go figure; they're the most expensive, and supposedly the best, but apparently no one told him that. He ended up liking the cheapest, Munckin brand. They have clear, squishy spouts like bottles. I tried the straw cups too, but he was not ready for those.

    Funny thing is, WIC and my Pediatrician have mentioned that they're not advocating sippy cups any more either, because studies have found that they cause just as much trouble as bottles when it comes to palate problems and tooth decay. They both said switch to regular cups after the bottle.

    That's all fine and good, but one thing at a time. I'm sure he'll be all right on sippy cups until he can at least drink from a cup without getting it all over the two of us. Anyway, nothing much new for me to say that others haven't already said, but it's nice to see we're all in the same boat and see everyone's suggestions, since different things work for different kids. Good luck!