Bottle to Sippy Cup Transition

Updated on May 25, 2010
S.S. asks from San Jose, CA
15 answers

My younger son just turned 2 and still drinks from a bottle. He only gets it 3 times a day--wake up, after nap & 1/2 hour before bed time--but won't drink milk any other way. He will take a sippy cup of water or juice but if I put milk in it he gets really angry and will refuse. Don't get me wrong, I am not a push over when I offer it I wait a good 15 minutes before I give in. However, he is not the kind where "crying it out" or "my way or the highway" strategies works. He is very independent and likes to have choices. I have tried cups w/ straws, various sippy cups with more bottle like tops, even sticking a super hero on it so it looks cool all with no avail. He is a picky eater so I know i given a little more because he is small for his age, even though the doc say he is fiine (his brother has always been in the 90th percentile and he is in the 12th).

Personally I would really like to be out of the bottle stage but need a new strategy. It is just so frustrating when looking at the rest of his development. He talks pretty clearly, can take off his clothes and is even experimenting with the potty (older brother's infuence). I know that he sees the bottle like a security blanket and its not developmental but it is hard not to compare how grown up he can be while associating the bottle with babydom. So amy suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Suzy & her men

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your responses. What I got from them is that I need to shift my thinking from getting him to drink milk in a sippy to just getting him off the bottle completely. Milk really isn't as crucial since he is now 2 so I think I am going to start eliminating the bottles one by one and offer a sippy instead, whether water or milk is not the objective no bottle is.

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answers from San Francisco on

Hello S., This is something that has worked well for not only my own 5 children and 12 grandchildren but the Day Care children I have had. Get a sippy cup that has their name on it. Then introduce it as a big deal and literally destroy the bottle so you don't cave in to giving it back.
If you can't find one with the child's name then get one with a built in straw attached they come in many colors and sizes I personally have 6 different colors here that we use. I even take a marking pen and put the namealong the bottom so they know which cup belongs to them it makes them proud to know they have something noone else in the family uses. I have also found that I have had to tell some little ones that want a pacifer that it is time to pass it along to a younger child or baby if that helps any. I learned a long time ago to give all my children raw vegetables with a simple dip and they have been eatting vegetables w/o problems, they also drink v8 juice which helps as well.
Good Luck,

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would say try only giving him his night time bottle for like a week so your not just taking it away all at once since you said that is not your sons style to just cry it out. offer his cup during the day with the things he likes and tell him he can have one at night before bed. once he has done that for a few days takl to him about being a baby and a big boy. if he likes the idea about being a big boy tell him the bottle fairy needs him to give her his bottle for the babies, cause hes a big boy she knows he doesnt need it anymore. Take all the bottles and put them in something that can be closed like a box or a big envelope have him take it to the mail and tell him the fair wil come and get this tonight and leave you a big boy presetn for helping her. The next morning when he wakes up have him again go outside to the mail, have a big boy gift there for him from the "fairy". you can do the same thing with pacifiers. He might ask a few times after that for it just remind him he is a big boy. he'll start taking milk from his cup soon just give it a little time and keep reenforcing that he is a BIG BOY. Good luck i hope this helps or at least gives you another idea to try. Whatever you do stick with it and don't give in that will only work against you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I do not know if this will work for you but....When my Grandmother was watching my cousin for " a while". She was four or Five and still drinking out of the bottle. My Grandmother did not fight her about it instead she tried to reason with her. My Grandmother everyday would sit her down tell her that babies drink from bottles and big girls from cups what do you want to be? and then she would take her over to the trash can and say when you want to be a a big girl, throw your bottle in here. For about two months this was a daily conversation and one afternoon she got home from work and all the bottles were in the trash. Grandma did not make a big deal out of it, just said welcome to being a big girl or something like that. That is the only Idea I heard of that worked, so I have know idea if it will work for you but that is my suggestion.

Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

I made the mistake of letting my 1st have night time bottles till age 3!!! Her teeth are great, but just breaking that cycle was awful! He may be too young to understand, is he closer to three or barely two? We went to target and explained to Kate that on her 3rd birthday, she was no longer able to use bottles and instead got to "exchange the bottle for a toy- we got a carebear for night time. It did work, but again, she was three. She asked for her bottle 3 days later and I reminded her what we did.

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answers from Stockton on

Have you tried telling to give it to the bottle fairy for the other babys who don't have one? That if he does, the bottle fairy will give him a new big boy cup? Or a big boy truck or something like that?

My other suggestion is to start clipping the bottle nipples like they say to do with pacifiers, so the bottel isn't as comforting anymore.

good luck, that's a hard one. we're in the process of getting rid of the pacifier and boy oh boy it is NOT FUN.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Yuba City on

Probably not the answer you want, but I just threw out my twin girls' bottles last week. They were not happy, but there were no bottles around so they are now taking whatever I give them in a variety of sippies, since we tried every one on the market and they wanted the bottle. I will not lie, it was rough for about 3 days, then they realized they just weren't going to get a bottle, and now they are fine. So honestly, just prepare yourself for the fits, get rid of the bottles completely (I did it while they were napping) and by next week you & he will be fine.

And in regards to the milk intake, don't worry about it, our family is very healthy, and think about it, in all creation, we are the only ones who wean our children from milk made for babies to give them milk made for calves. Don't let the dairy council fool you, it isn't as important as they make it seem. (Don't get me wrong I love milk products! They just aren't as necessary as marketing makes it)

Take care, you'll be just fine & so will he, promise!!


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answers from Sacramento on

My friend had the same problem and she found that the type of bottle she used(Avent) was compatible with that companies sippy cup pieces. so she just at fist put the sippy cup mouth piece on the bottle and eventually her daughter was fine with no bottle. Maybe your bottle type is also compatible with a sippy cup mouth piece. Or you could try the hole Pacifer trick of a "Paci fairy" or "you find it you can have it". Of course replacing Paci for bottle. Thats what my son did the "you find it" fror both bottle and paci . He was 15mths though so , hope fully you find some trick. Good Luck!

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answers from Sacramento on

Try a Nuby Sippy cup--the spout is soft like a bottle and makes for an easier transition.

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answers from New York on

I tried without success for a year to get my 3 year old to stop using bottles (it was his security blanket as well and his doc thought it was no big deal). I tried about 8 different types of sippy cups and staw cups, none worked. He just wasn't ready to give up his bottle.

Then one day I asked him what the difference between a big boy and a baby was. He mentioned he could talk, run, etc. I mentioned he had teeth and babies didn't. And then I asked him if he knew that drinking from a bottle when you were not a baby could damage his teeth. And suddenly, a light bulb went off in him ("It will?" he asked with eyes wide open) and from that moment on he accepted his drinks in sippy cups and straw cup.

I was really shocked how easy it was, just a simple comment did the trick. That said, the cups he likes the best are the "Munchkin 10 Oz Mighty Grip Straw Cup", the "Playtex Baby The Insulator Twist 'n Click Straw Cup 9 oz" and the "NUK Gerber BPA Free Cool Twisties Insulated Straw Cup". They're easy to clean if you have the thin brushes such as "Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Cleaning Brush, 4 Pack", all sold on amazon.



answers from Stockton on

Forgive me for not reading all of the other responses if this is duplicate info. I did read the suggestion about a special sippy with his name - they have really cute ones at Babies R Us.
I have a very stubborn picky kid too - however he has always been a sucker for whatever the BIG BOYS are doing - this is useful most of the time. Big boys don't use bottles so the sippy switch was easy - potty training was another story.
15 minutes is not long enough and you son knows you will give in after 15 minutes and is just waiting you out. SO, gather up all the bottles - put them in a box, address it to "The Little Babies" and have Daddy "mail" it to them.
(I totally stole this idea from Supernanny) Now he will know there are no bottles in the house and his choices are either a cup or a sippy cup.
I noticed early on that my son is MUCH more willing to eat or at least taste new foods if he is not at home. He eats all kinds of veggies at daycare because he sees his buddies eating them. He will try new foods at a restaurant or friend's house especially if another kid is eating it. I think the reason is that at home he knows that DADDY will give in and make him a smoothie if he doesn't eat his food - he ALSO know that there are cookies etc. in our cupboards and if he picks at his dinner DADDY will let him eat a cookie when MOMMY goes upstairs to start his bath. Hmmm.....the kid is not stupid and neither is yours! I think they figure out how to manipulate us way before they can talk! ;)
Does your son have a security item like a teddy bear or blankie? Maybe that can help replace the comfort of the bottle.



answers from San Francisco on

Just get rid of the bottles. If they don't exist, he can't use them. It will be difficult at first but he will adjust quickly. If you try to take them away slowly, he will resist and try to retain control of them. We had an issue with the pacifiers. My neighbor had a new baby, so I told her we had to give them to the new baby. She cried and was wide awake the first night but then just forgot about them. She hardly cried at all the second night and was perfectly fine after that.



answers from Denver on

What?? I had my daughter off her bottle a week before she turned 1 and I plan on doing that with our 8 month when her time comes...
He doesn't NEED milk right now. I assume he eats yogurt and cheese, so for now you just have to get rid of the bottles. Work on that first and then in time he will start to drink milk...
Even my good little sippy cup drinker (full force at 5 months) would only drink water out of it. She just didn't enjoy milk even in a bottle. So we just let it go...
She ate well and got all the calcium she needs- most of it from veggies.
We would attempt milk with meals, but rarely she would drink it. Finally around 17 months she just decided it was yummy and cold and wanted it all the time. Now we have to tell her no, you have had too much :)
So for now just work on getting the bottle habit kicked! That is necessary at his age. And from there the milk part will come.
Trust me he doesn't NEED milk. There are lots of kids that can't have milk at all and are normal kiddos.



answers from Bakersfield on

Hi Momma-
i see you tried cups with straws, but have you tried the sippy ones that are the bend and drip free straws. What about scups with straws for everyone else? I suggest you get some disposable cups with lids and straws, too, so he can see you drinking out of it. Show him that you will drink your milk out of it....and then offer him one. Use them at the dinner table, etc. He may say no at first, but eventually you can offer him either a sippy cup or a straw cup....and then a straw cup or a regular cup. For me, I am a die hard straw girl. I even keep them at my desk at work...because everything tastes better through a straw!!!
You can also tell him the bottle fairy needs his bottles for a new baby and it's time to wrap them up and send them away since he is now a big boy. I have heard if this working for some parents. He can even write a note to the new baby and the bottle fairy....He can wrap one up at a time and you can take it to the post office.....(the trash can or recycle bin where he won't look) and then have a friend write a thank you note from the bottle fairy for his generous donation. Get creative!
I still think that straw cups are the way to go though the transition time may be somewhat lenghty. Plus there are loads of really cool no drip straw cups. But really, when it comes down to it, it is whatever he is comfy with and whatever he thinks is cool.
Also, as a last thought, NUBY makes a sippy cup with a bottle like top- same silicon, but its to help transition the baby to their own cup.
I hope this helps and good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I would just cut out the bottles one at a time over a couple weeks...maybe start with the after nap on then the morning one and then the before bed one. It is really ok if he doesn't drink milk as long as the doctor isn't worried. You can tell him he can have milk, juice or water, but it has to be in his cup. If he refuses to drink then say, "well, when you get thirsty, your drink will be right here." and then leave it somewhere he can reach it himself. I wouldn't make a big production outbox it or beg him to drink or anything. Once he realizes that the bottle isn't an option he'll drink...have you tried a regular cup with no lid or straw? My son just turned two and he is pretty good with a small plastic cup which we give him only when he's sitting at the table. Maybe you're son would think that was fun? Good luck and don't worry too much about the milk and his weight...I know it's hard, but I read something once that said no child has ever starved who had access to healthy food and water.



answers from San Francisco on

I have to agree that it is time to go cold turkey on the bottles. Just get rid of them. Use the neighbor's trash can so your little guy can't hunt them down. When he asks for them, just say they are gone. Where? I don't know! He may want to look for them and you can help him with that. In the cupboard? No. Pantry? No. Washing machine? Nope. I don't know! Let's eat breakfast and we can look some more later.

Don't worry about drinking milk. He will adjust quickly and if he never drinks milk again he will be just fine. There are a lot of people out there that have dairy allergies and are perfectly healthy. If he really likes milk and was just being stubborn about the bottles, he will go back to milk eventually.

Cold turkey is really the only way with the stubborn ones. The bottle fairy, or trading for a toy, or any gradual letting go won't work with them. As long as there is a bottle in the house he will want it and have a fit until he gets it (or you go crazy!) :o) I would throw them away tonight after he goes to bed.

My two cents!

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