Sippy Cup Boot Camp

**Disclaimer:  I have not been compensated in ANY way to discuss these various sippy cups.  The views expressed are simply my own opinions from our personal experience.  All photos courtesy of diapers.com.

Marcia recently asked how we went about switching the girls from bottles to sippy cups.  I don't claim to have any great method for how to get babies to learn to drink from a cup, but I was curious before we did it too, so maybe my experience will help someone.
We first started offering water and juice in sippy cups around 9 months or so.  I had a variety of different cups that were handed down from friends, so we just started trying them.  The first two we tried were the Avent and the Nuby with the soft spouts. 
Addison and Mackenzie were curious about the cups, but they didn't seem to understand they were actually supposed to use them.  They could get water out when they wanted, but they much preferred chewing on the handles or the spout (particularly on the Avent).  Sometime along the way, I realized there was really no need for the handles anyway, as they had been holding their bottles for awhile already.  So I got a couple more Nuby cups without handles.  Those were the cups they really learned to drink from.  We offered them water and juice with meals and throughout the day.  Sometimes they would drink a good bit; other times they really weren't interested. 
 These are the spouts on the Nuby cups.

As the girls got better about drinking from their cups, I would occasionally put some milk in there for them to try.  Usually, they absolutely refused it.  I do remember one time when all the bottles were in the dishwasher, so we were forced to push the cups.  They did okay, but the milk seemed to flow too quickly out of the spout and they would quickly get tired of it.  We kept pushing the cups during they day, but I backed off and let them keep the bottles in the morning and at night.  Our pediatrician said he wasn't worried about the transition at one year, and he said it was no big deal to just wait until 15 months or so.

I had this idea in my head that we would eventually just have a "sippy cup bootcamp", a weekend when I would just make the switch and only give them milk in sippy cups-no more bottles.  I knew it might be a rough couple of days, so I wanted to wait until the timing was right and we didn't have anywhere important to be during the weekend.

In the meantime, Addison and Mackenzie somehow learned to drink from straws (which is what helped us tremendously, in my opinion!).  We had offered them a straw before, but they only seemed to chew on it, not sucking at all.  One day, I was letting Mackenzie play with a fat pen that was on the counter while my mom and I were standing there talking.  I noticed she was sucking on the pen for some reason, so I quickly pulled out a sippy cup with a straw to see if she would keep doing it.  She did, and seemed excited that she could get the drink out that way.  Addison learned to do it in just a couple of days as well.  I went out and bought a bunch of these Nuby straw cups:

We started practicing drinking from those, and they really seemed to like it...even enough to drink some milk occasionally.  The big advantage to the straw is that the girls can better control the flow so they are not getting too much at once.  I highly recommend the straw cups if you seem to be having the same problems.

Not too long after they mastered drinking from the straw, there was a weekend when I would be off work the following Monday for a holiday (it was in late April, so the girls were nearly 13 months at the time, if you're wondering).  I didn't really plan to switch that weekend, but it ended up working out.  On Friday night, I poured some milk into their cups to drink with supper and noticed they drank a good bit of it.  I decided to try them at bedtime and see what happened.  I didn't get the screaming demands for the bottle that I had when I'd tried the switch in the past.  They didn't drink much (maybe an ounce or two each), but I decided to go with it and put them to bed to see how they did...

And all of a sudden, it was done!  I never offered another bottle, and I moved them to the back of the counter so the girls wouldn't catch a glimpse and want one.  They didn't drink a whole lot over the weekend, and for the first couple of weeks, I'm sure their milk intake was down significantly...but I stopped counting daily ounces a long time ago and instead trust that they are healthy girls who are getting plenty of nutrition.  Anyway, I think it has evened out over time because with whole milk and a sippy cup, it is much easier to offer milk throughout the day instead of 3 specific times.  They now love their sippy cups, and this mama loves my big girls for making a relatively smooth transition from bottles!

thirsty Addison

One tip on the transition from formula to whole milk...  I made the girls' formula with lukewarm tapwater, which they preferred over straight-up cold water.  When we switched to whole milk, it was a little much for them straight out of the refrigerator.  I would pour the milk, then put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds (for both cups/bottles at the same time), just to take a little bit of the chill off the milk.  Recently, they have moved past that and will now just take it straight out of the fridge, along with cold water, juice, etc. 

Like I said, I don't have any great methods to recommend, just a lot of luck!  My biggest tip, though, would be not to backtrack...after you take the bottle, stick to it.  They will adjust eventually, and switching back and forth is just confusing.  And don't stress about the timeline.  Like everything else, they will do it when they're ready...with a little encouragement.  : )


  1. I agree with you, there's no method is just good luck and interesting kids.

  2. Thank you so much for your wonderful post - I'm going to get nappies this weekend and will get some of those other sippy cups first and see how it goes.

    they have one cup each (marked age 4 months!) but they just chomp on the silicone drinking spout - I like the look of yours as it seems more like the bottle's teats (nipples).

    I'll let you know how it goes.

    Funny - Connor will drink water straight out of a cup but I hold it as I can't be dealing with all that mess!

  3. Great post! Oh, I remember the days - our cabinet looked like a sippy cup graveyard until we found the right ones.

  4. Our boys had a quick jump to all sippys. They got a stomach bug and needed to drink pedialyte and no formula or juice. They had already been having a cup at lunchtime, so we just put the pedialyte into the sippy cups as it seemed odd to put it in bottles. They loved drinking it and thought it was great as it was the only nourishment they were allowed for 3 days. Poor things. When we let them try formula again, it seemed like backpedaling letting them go back to a bottle.

    By the way those sippys with the straws look great for traveling. We don't put the stoppers in the sippy cups, so they are not good for travel if they have something in them.

  5. We love the straw sippies too. But you are right, it is just pure luck switching them, I think!

  6. Our girls are 17 months old, and have just - FINALLY! - made the transition to sippy cups. I told myself they wouldn't go to kindergarten with bottles in their lunchboxes, but I was beginning to wonder. :) We're using the Nuby straw cups, too. My next focus is transitioning the girls to drinking cold milk, as I'm still heating it up a little bit for them.

    I know I've visited your blog before, but I can't remember if I shared with you that I'm from the great state of Alabama. I call it "God's Country". :) We're only about 250 miles from home, which isn't bad, but we hope to be able to move back some day. I grew up in Oneonta, although my dad now lives in Gadsden, so that's where we spend most of our time.

    Oh, and I'm impressed that you braved the beach! I think we're going to try a short trip to Chattanooga this summer. I'm looking forward to the get-away, but like you said, I'm sure it will be a lot of work.


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