Is it time for your baby to say goodbye to his/her bottles and say hello to cups?  If your baby is around four to six months old, it is an excellent time to start introducing your baby to an open cup and gradually wean him/her from the bottle.  It is advisable to begin the weaning process this early to allow your child to adjust and stop your baby from getting too attached to the bottle.  Your baby should be weaned off the bottle between his/her twelfth to the eighteenth month. This is the age when most babies have the coordination and hand skills needed to hold a cup and drink from it. 

Here are other signs that your child is ready for bottle weaning:

1.     Your baby can sit up by himself/herself without assistance.

2.     Your baby can eat using a spoon.

3.     Your baby shows interest in solid food.

4.     Your baby has a feeding routine.

Why Should You Wean Your Baby from the Bottle?

1.     Feeding from the bottle can lead to tooth decay.  Sugar specifically lactose from milk and acid from juice stays longer on the teeth. It can lead to cavities, especially when the baby still feeds during sleep.  Why is it discouraged to let your baby feed from a bottle at night?  It is because his/her body makes less saliva during sleep.  Thus, there is nothing that washes out the particles or milk residue from the baby’s teeth.

2.     Bottle-feeding can lead to obesity.  Several studies have indicated that formula feeding does not teach babies to self-regulate. Hence, the babies tend to continue to drink milk even though they are already full. Also, the formula is said to affect the gut microbes, which can lead to obesity. 

3.     Prolonged bottle-feeding can affect babies’ teeth alignment.  It can cause  the jaws and the teeth to grow out of shape.

4.     Bottle-feeding can affect your baby’s appetite for solid food.  Your baby may prefer to drink milk rather than eat solid food.  Hence, your baby may miss out on vitamins and nutrients that fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains can provide.

How Can You Wean Your Baby Off the Bottle?


Transitioning from bottles to cups may be a challenging feat for babies, so you must be prepared to start this process.   

 Here are some tips to guide you on how to wean a baby off the bottle.

1.     Get an open cup.

When shopping for an open cup for your baby, you should look for a cup that has a semi-soft rim and is small enough for your baby’s hand to hold. 

2.     Start early.

At around four to six months old, your baby should start to eat solid food.   You should begin to introduce a small-sized glass or cup to your baby during her mealtimes.  Offer your baby sips of water to get him/her used to drink from a cup.    Once your baby is comfortable and accustomed to using a cup, you may replace one bottlefeed with his/her milk in a cup.

To get them familiarized with the cup, you can also let your baby play with the cup while bathing in the tub.  They can get and pour water from it.

3.     Model drinking from a glass or cup.

Ideally, your baby should join the family meals so that he/she can observe your actions – from scooping the food from the plate to drinking liquids from a glass.  You can also talk to your baby to label the acts of eating and drinking to introduce him/her to eating and drinking.

4.     Pick a great time to start.

Start weaning your baby off the bottle when your baby is in a good mood.  Avoid weaning when your baby is unwell, tired, or hungry.  Also, do not let it coincide with changes with routines, caregivers, or other life changes.

5.     Wean from the bottle gradually.

You do not need to get rid of the bottle all at once.  You can choose from these weaning strategies.

1.     Reduce the bottle-feeding one session at a time.  You can reduce a bottle during the daytime and then replace milk with the solid food.  You can also offer milk in a cup. 

2.     You can also start reducing the quantity of the formula per feeding.  Place the formula milk you reduced and put it in a cup instead.

3.     You can also put more water into the formula milk to dilute it and offer your child undiluted milk in a cup.  Your baby will soon choose the milk in the cup because it has more flavor than the bottle.

Once you have introduced the cup during mealtime, ensure to let your baby drink from the cup during mealtimes.  Do not switch back to baby bottles to avoid confusion.

6.     Make drinking a fun activity.

Give your child a cup with bright colors or a cute design.  You can also do it as a habit to pretend to toast to her each other before you sip your drinks.

7.     Keep the bottles.

Store the bottles in cabinets or containers where your baby cannot see them.  It may help your baby look for them less.

8.      Be consistent.

Get everyone in the family and your baby’s caregiver aboard on the weaning plan and schedule.  Explain the importance of weaning so that they appreciate and abide by the plan.  Remember, weaning has to be consistent for it to be successful.

9.     Give support and extra attention.

Babies can get attached to their bottles.  The bottles give comfort, and so weaning off the bottle is a big adjustment for them.  During this process, support them by giving them reassurance through more bonding time, tight hugs, and warm kisses.

10.  Re-direct strong attachment from the bottle.

If in case you started late, your baby may be already attached to the bottle.  To help your baby, you can offer other objects that he/she can soothe him/her.  You can give a stuffed animal or a soft blanket to ease the longing for comfort that the bottle brings.

Now, you’re all set to start!

If you have any comments or feedback, feel free to write in the Comments section below. 

Tiny Steps

We play, learn and grow with children.

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