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Weaning from Bottle to Cup

When should I start weaning?

Weaning from a bottle to a cup depends on your baby's need to suck and his ability to drink from a cup. A baby is usually ready to be weaned to a cup between 9 and 18 months. When your baby is 6 months old, you can start giving him a cup, but wait to completely wean your baby until he is about 9 months old.

What kind of milk should I use?

You can use breast milk or infant formula in the cup until your baby is 1 year old. If your baby is over 1 year old you can use regular whole milk.

How do I wean my baby?

  • Plan ahead. Don't let your baby use the bottle as a security object. For example, don’t give a bottle to your baby in bed. Your baby may link the bottle with security and comfort and may not want to give it up. This can make weaning harder.
  • Give yourself and your baby plenty of time. Slow weaning gives your baby time to adjust.
  • Give your baby time to get used to the idea of a cup. After the age of 6 months, you can sometimes give your baby breast milk, formula, or juice in a cup just to show that drinks can come in another container. You might start with a sippy cup with 2 handles and a lid with a spout. This is easier for your baby to hold, and it helps prevent spills.
  • Start small and increase the amount of milk. When you are ready to fully wean your baby from the bottle, start by giving your baby a cup with 1/2 ounce (oz) of milk or formula at every meal. Don’t use juice to replace milk at feedings. End the meal with a bottle of milk. Your baby will slowly take more and more milk from the cup. Once you start weaning, make sure you give a cup at every meal.
  • Eliminate 1 bottle feeding at a time. When your baby is taking at least 4 oz from the cup at each meal, you can stop a bottle-feeding. Stop the least preferred bottle feedings first. The early morning and evening meals are usually a baby's favorite and is generally the last bottle-fed meal he is willing to give up.
  • If your child uses a sippy cup, use it only at the table or while your child is in the high chair. Don’t let your child walk around with a sippy cup. Your child may link the sippy cup with security and comfort. Also, using a sippy cup too much may cause tooth decay or an overbite of the upper teeth. Wean your baby to an open-rimmed cup as soon as you can.

Your baby is weaned when he takes 16 to 20 oz of milk by cup each day, has solid food for 3 meals a day, and doesn't seem to miss the bottle.

What if I have problems with weaning?

Setbacks in weaning can be caused by many things, including stress, major changes in meal or bed times, or illness. If you have a setback, it’s OK to wait until things calm down, and then continue weaning your baby. Call your baby's healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-02-07
Last reviewed: 2013-12-18
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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