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Discussing breastfeeding deserves a book on its own, a new mother often wonders whether she’s making all the right decisions that will ensure her bundle of joy receives all the nutrition needed from her breast milk. What’s the right diet during breastfeeding? Is there a safe tea to increase milk supply? Choosing the right breastfeeding bra, finding the perfect sore nipple cream and so on. Once all of those questions are sorted out (sort of), the inevitable question arrives, what happened after breastfeeding? What’s the deal with introducing a sippy cup to your baby?
If your baby is old enough to change from breastfeeding to a sippy cup or a straw cup, you have your plate full, as this leap does not always take place smoothly. You have many reasons to make things easier, probably the most important of them having a lot to do with preserving your child’s oral health.
Parents confront with a few issues when it comes to leaping from breastfeeding to sippy cups: the proper baby age for the leap, the type of sippy cup that ensures a comfortable transition for baby and parents, and the inherent hassle associated with the process.
The Basics of Sippy Cup Introduction
According to the American Dental Association, the best time in introducing sippy cup is around the 1-year-old birthday. However, experts do not put a pin on this, because it all depends on your baby. In other words, we will discuss the age issue in a few moments, as it is essential and you need to pay attention.
The type of sippy cup you need to start with is relatively simple to tackle: read this best sippy cups for toddlers review for starters. Professionally constructed, it comes with true-and-tested opinions, best features, child-centric and parent-centric features, pros, cons, conclusions, and recommendations. It is a perfect place to start, and it will give you a broader idea of what to expect from the hustle we mentioned.
Talking to mothers already using the sippy cups, reading forums, observing your child’s behavior about the sippy cups’ features you noted, and even asking your pediatrician are excellent ways to pick one or more sippy cups to ease your baby into using them.
How to Introduce a Sippy Cup to Your Breastfed Child?
Now that the easy part is over, let us focus on tips, tricks, and actionable advice on how to help your child make the transition towards sippy cups in a manner that is comfortable and fun for both baby and parent. Before we begin, remember that some toddlers get the sippy cup idea in minutes; others need help, while others may not agree with it at all.
- Find a sippy cup with a soft, gum-safe, medical silicone-grade, comfortable spout. It will both mimic the softness of the breast and will help the toddler adjust to the cup easier, without a prolonged period of adjustment;
- As a result of the first suggestion, buy more sippy cups models. Some are almond-shaped, some mimic the roundness of the breast; some come with handles, and some not. Get the affordable ones and see which are your baby’s most likely favorites;
- Start the sippy cup training when the baby is awake, cheerful, and ready to take on the world. You should avoid quenching the thirst of a child with a sippy cup when the child already displays a grumpy mood, is tired or hungry. If you try the sippy cup when the baby is moody, you should expect frustration and tears;
- Show the baby how to raise the cup and tilt it so he/she can drink. This stage will require some patience on your part and some time but do not give up. If you picked a sippy cup with a flexible, soft spout, touch the baby’s lips or mouth roof with the spout tip to trigger the sucking reflex. You may need to hold the cup for drinking for a while, as small toddlers do not have their full motor skills developed. If the baby refuses the spout, dip it in breast milk to have a taste. It usually gets children interested;
- When you have older children, allow the old brother/sister show the little one how to use the sippy cup. The imitation game is quite fun for toddlers, and they might want to start playing with their older siblings;
- As we said, many babies get the right idea with the sippy cup in a matter of minutes. However, you may see plenty of biting and chewing going on;
- On the contrary, some sippy cups are hard to deal with because they have spill-proof valves or the child needs to bite the straw to drink. If you want a smoother, less frustrating process, remove the valve or change the way the straw works to facilitate drinking;
- If the transition is a bit difficult, feed your baby in two steps: breastfeed for the first half of the process, then switch to the sippy cup containing breast milk, holding the baby just as you keep her when you breastfeed her.
Keep in mind that these are not fail-proof methods. Children are much smarter than we give them credit, and some will embrace the sippy cup as if it was yet another interesting fact about the world they love to discover and play with all the time. Some children will ignore it royally or bite through piles of spouts like bubble gum.
Before we leave you to your quest for the best sippy cups, a word of advice for moms. If the baby still wants to breastfeed and you see no problems with it, allow the child to have its ways and decide when to introduce sippy cup progressively.
Source: Polka Dot Images
In case if you’re thinking about ‘going cold turkey’, by skipping the introduction and going straight to feeding your kiddo using a sippy cup, it might not be a smooth sail but it might also work (wink).
Share with us your experience in how to introduce a sippy cup to your child in the comment section below.
Kelly Fowler is a full-time mommy and a co-founder of Sweetmomsblog.com, a blog where she provides useful baby care advice for every new parent.