Bye-Bye, Bottle

Booting the Bottle

If your child doesn't know how to use a sippy cup...

A baby who can sit up by herself, hold her head up, and open her mouth for a spoon is ready to add a cup to her mealtime mix. First do a quick show-and-tell by holding the cup to her mouth and dribbling some liquid onto her lips; take the valve out of a non-spill cup in order to do this. If you're using a cup with handles, hold them so that your baby sees how to maneuver them herself. If she doesn't get the hang of it, try using a straw. Consider a small plastic water bottle with a spout and a fold-out straw. Once you squeeze the bottle and squirt the drink into your child's mouth a few times, she should start figuring out how to suck from the spout.

If your baby adores her bottle...

Start with a slow-and-easy approach, replacing one regular bottle feeding with a sippy cup. Do this every few days until you're completely bottle-free. When that happens, make a big deal of the milestone and help your child understand that it's a good thing -- it means she's getting bigger. "Right before my daughter's first birthday, I had her throw out a bottle and say, 'Bye-bye.' Then we told the bottle she didn't need it anymore," says Erin Ridley, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. "I put all the other bottles out of sight. She did great!" If your child isn't up for such a change, hide the bottles one by one.

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