When to Transition from a Baby Bottle to a Cup?
Have you ever wondered at what age you should transition from the baby bottle (slow – medium – fast flow teat) to a sippy or straw cup? Let’s find out…
1. The Bottle
Most baby bottles on the market offer various teat levels that can be estimated by age – Slow Flow, Medium Flow and Fast Flow. The teat flow determines how quickly milk flows into baby’s mouth and the following is recommended as a guide:
Slow Flow – Newborn (0 – 3 months old)
Medium Flow – Tiny Tot (3 – 6 months old)
Fast Flow – Tiny Tot (6 – 12 months old)
Reminder: Every baby is different and develops at their own rate, but it is suggested that you try a new teat every 2 – 3 months. Baby may need a faster flow teat if they become impatient or aggravated when feeding, baby falls asleep often while feeding or you find the teat loses its shape while drinking because baby is sucking too hard on it. Baby may need a slower flow teat if they are gulping, choking, coughing or excess milk starts to drip out of its mouth. Rotate between teats until you find the best fit.
2. Sippy or Straw Cup
When babies begin to naturally lose interest in bottle-feeding, this is the best time to introduce a transition cup. It is recommended that you slowly wean them off the bottle from 6 – 12 months old. It is important to transition baby from the bottle to an open cup at this time:
To Prevent Tooth Decay – drinking bottled milk leaves baby’s teeth in prolonged contact with the sugars in milk (lactose) which can increase their risk for cavities.
For Oral Motor Development – to encourage baby to move from an immature swallow to a mature swallow pattern. Prolonged use of the bottle can affect the positioning and development of adult teeth later in life.
Experts suggest that your baby should be fully weaned off the bottle by 12 – 18 months old. Use the sippy or straw cup as a transition cup to prepare your toddler for an open cup. This helps them to move away from the bottle and encourages better mouth development. Interestingly, the straw cup is a preferred alternative to the sippy spout because it promotes proper tongue placement for speech and swallowing.