July 02, 2015

Q: Getting my baby to use a sippy cup is becoming a real struggle. What can I do?

A: Don't let it become a battle -- take a break for a few weeks before picking a good time to try again. (Tip: Don't start if your child is already coping with something stressful, like a change in caregivers.) If you've been cutting out the bottles one by one, try a different strategy. Instead of fighting over whether your baby can have a bottle, give her one whenever she wants it, but just keep putting less milk in it. If she asks for a refill, say, "I can only give you more in a sippy cup," and stick to your guns. If she's thirsty enough, she'll take it. And always offer a cup first at mealtime. Gradually, she'll lose interest in her bottle. Also, buy your daughter her own special cup, and praise her when she chooses to use it. There is one other approach you can try: cold turkey. It isn't as harsh as it sounds -- in fact, it works best for some kids. Say goodbye together, throw out all the old bottles, and give your child a lovey, such as a blanket or soft stuffed animal, to provide a little extra comfort as she makes the transition. --Sally Lee

Originally published in Parents magazine, May 2005. Updated 2009.

Answered by Parents Team