She Says… A Toddler Now

Though we’ve known it since he took his first steps nearly 2 months ago, Owen isn’t a baby anymore. He’s a toddler. And now that he’s officially 1 year old, I’m having a hard time clinging to the word baby. He’ll always be my baby, but he’s just SUCH a toddler these days that it’s time to call a spade a spade.

Pictures and videos of the birthday weekend to come. PROMISE. In the meantime I need to solicit advice from the wise moms of the world wide web. Because you guys know everything.

Here’s the deal. Now that Owen is 1 he can switch to drinking cow’s milk instead of formula. Woo hoo! Mama needs a new pair of shoes! That will certainly help the budget 🙂 I really didn’t think he would have an issue with the switch to milk, since he isn’t too picky about what is in his bottle (he went from breastmilk to formula easily, and even drank the disgusting hypoallergenic formula without much of a fuss). And he’s been drinking his formula cold for awhile to prepare for this transition. But one thing Owen is quite attached to is his bottle. And now that he’s a big toddler he’s supposed to be working his way off of the bottle as well and transitioning to sippy cups. He’s totally comfortable with sippy cups with water, and drinking out of a big boy cup when I’m helping him hold it, so I didn’t think there would be a problem there either.

So I thought that it might be good to introduce the “milk in a sippy” as a totally new thing, and eliminate bottles and formula at the same time over the course of a few weeks. I tried giving him a sippy with milk at his normal bottle time a few times. No dice. I tried again with 1/2 milk and 1/2 formula in a sippy. He played with the sippy in his mouth, took a few glugs, and then gave the all done sign and hopped down to play. Hmm. Immediately my brain was in overdrive. “Oh no! He hates milk! Could he be allergic to it? We’ll have to try that toddler formula. Maybe it needs to be warmer? Is there something wrong with this cup?”. Blah blah blah. My patient and wise husband pointed out that it might be too many new things at once, and maybe we should go step by step to figure out which thing he was rejecting. Smarty pants.

So at the next bottle time I gave him half milk, half formula in his bottle. Glug, glug, glug. He downed it. It wasn’t the cow’s milk he was rejecting at all. It was the sippy. Though he drinks water from the very same sippy cup several times a day, he just preferred his regular old bottle (that is often held by mama!) for his bottle time. He’s quite capable; he just chooses not to use his skills if someone else is willing to hold the bottle for him. Huh. Another smarty pants in the family, eh?

After a few days of halfsies I switched to all milk in his bottles. Slurp, slurp, slurp. He didn’t bat an eyelash. So we’ve successfully switched to milk! Except for in his nighttime bottle, which I’m still doing a few ounces of formula mixed with milk to use up the formula we have left and also because I am nervous that he may get hungry overnight. That last fear is probably totally unfounded, since whole milk has a lot of yummy and filling fat. But what can I say, I’m a worrier! Anyway, one part of this whole toddler transition is down.

But now for switching to sippy cups. Any suggestions for things that I can do to get him to drink his milk from a sippy instead of the bottle? It seems like I should just go cold turkey and only offer sippies and he will get the idea. Right? But then a part of me doesn’t want to rush him. I mean, what’s the harm in using bottles for awhile longer? It’s not like he CAN’T drink out of a sippy. It’s just that he PREFERS bottles for his regular bottle times. And, ahem, I still kind of love cuddling him with his bottle and he prefers to run around the room when he has a sippy.

He’s still drinking about about 25 ounces of milk a day. And eating three square meals and 1 or 2 snacks a day. The kid is a vacuum cleaner. You know, except when he eats like a bird. And throws everything on the floor. Which happens sometimes, too. So maybe it’s easier to drink a full 6 ounces from a bottle? I don’t know.

I’m not terribly worried about this transition. I’m filing it under “things he won’t go to college doing” and letting it take its own course. But there has to be a reason that pediatricians encourage us to switch our babies to cups at around this age. I’ll be asking my doc about it at our 1 year appointment, but that isn’t for another 2 weeks.

Tips about switching from bottles to cups? Stories? Comments?


28 responses to “She Says… A Toddler Now

  1. I can’t really help because we’re in the same boat. Faith will only drink water out of her sippy cup. Not milk and not juice, just water. She will only drink milk out of a bottle (and refuses all juice, period.)

    I’m not too worried, since it’s not like she won’t use a sippy cup at all. She only gets a bottle 3 times a day. I will enjoy not washing bottles anymore, but it’s not so bad.

    We are still on one bottle of formula a day (the rest is milk) because we’ve had to do the transition very slowly because she got pooplosions from the switch.

  2. What kind of sippy are you using? Our son refused milk in the AM and PM (sleepy times) if the sippy had a hard spout. If it was a squishy spout, he was fine. I HATE the squishy spouts because they seem to be more prone to mold underneath the lid, but I was willing to use them if he’d drink it w/o a fuss. Now that he’s 21 months he’s totally fine either way!

  3. You know, my son wasn’t too sure about the sippy cup either. I’m not sure if you’ve already tried this but I noticed friends who introduced the sippy cups with straws vs. the sippy cups with the spout seemed to be more satisfying to them. You might try that. I think when I introduced the straw my son transitioned much easier.
    Ps-As a mom you might like this link: The Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth ( Our kids grow so fast – from babies to toddlers and beyond. This guide has tips for kids of every age. I’ve found information for my preschooler and my new infant.

  4. Liam is in the exact same boat (as Kara above also). Will only drink water from a sippy, milk from a bottle, and no juice at all. And now that he’s going to be 14 mos tomorrow, this is becoming much more bothersome to us! I will be interested in what you learn!

  5. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting him hold onto the bottle a bit longer. My ped advised transitioning at a year too, saying the the longer we wait, the harder the transition will be. My older son clearly wasn’t ready to give up his bottle at 12 months, so we did it when he was 15 months. My younger son transitioned at 12 months. Neither was crazy about sippies at first. I did it cold turkey and they got the hang of it pretty quickly when that was their only option.

  6. Right there with ya. Danielle just turned one 6/15 and has been on cow’s milk since a little before then (oooo this Mama’s breakin the rules!) which I hoped would translate to an easy transition from bottle time to sippy cup time, but no. She has no problem with sippy cups during the day, but at nap time and bed time she wants her BOTTLE. And I want my peace and quiet/sleep so it’s tough to want to crack down on it. *sigh*

    Lemme know if you come up with a quick fix, would ya?!

  7. We have pretty much dropped the bottle and moved to straw sippies with the goal of starting real milk next month. The little guy sits in my lap to drink his cup just like he did with his bottle. We both still like the snuggle time through feeding. Maybe try that? If we give him his cup during a meal, he plays with it and doesn’t drink much.

  8. We went through the same thing when our daughter turned one. We first transitioned her to all milk by using the same 1/2 & 1/2 method and then increasing the milk. But when it came to sippy cups she was very resistent to drinking milk from it. We were using Avent bottles/sippy cups at the time and all of the pieces were (still are?) interchangeable. We found that putting the bottle top on the sippy cup bottom for a few days and then making the swititch worked for her. It was as though it was all too much change for her at the time. Not sure what kind of bottles/sippy cups you use or of it that’s even an option but it worked for us.

  9. I offered my children the sippy cup with small amounts of milk in it through out the day. During play time, snack time, dinner time. Then put only water on there bottles, when I gave them there bed time or nap time bottle, (which I also held for them still while rocking) after a few sips of water and some fussing, I would then offer them the sippy with the milk in it. Keep alternating between sippy with milk and bottle with water. All the while still rocking and singing just like normal. After 3 or 4 days my kids decided the bottle was not worth it. The good stuff was in the cup!!!!

  10. I’ve started the transition with the sippy cups with the soft spout (we’ve used the nuk brand) and it seems to help. I use both sippy cup and bottles but I think when we hit the year mark, I’ll go cold turkey with the bottles since she’s had experience with the sippy cup. It’s a challenge – I look forward to the other comments for advice too!

  11. I think the reason to let go of the bottle is because of their teeth & “Baby bottle rot” (such an awful name!). It took us a LONG time to make the transition away from the bottle – Austin probably didn’t get there till 18+ months. Like you, I was in no rush. We did find switching the the playtex sippies with the hard plastic top worked for some reason. Once we discovered those, the bottles were a thing of the past. Until the baby started taking a bottle…but that is another story…

  12. I say, just keep trying and experimenting. It is a transition, indeed. And clearly eating from a bottle is more for him than just getting his calories–it comes with associations of cuddling, and caring, and “mommy/daddy” so that is a lot to transition away from! It sounds like since he can drink water from a sippy cup, that it is not an issue of not knowing *how* to use a sippy, which can be a challenge for some babies/toddlers. But perhaps get a whole new kind of sippy for the milk? Introduce a new association. We may be in a minority, but we did not have great luck with soft spouts/tops or the straw kinds of cups. I LOVE LOVE Tilty cups. They are like the kind of cups you used as a kid–no valvue, no straw, and no “sucking” action, since learning to drink from a cup is different from sucking. Pretty cheap, you can get a smoothie lid, too, and BPA free, etc. I like that it has the tilt so that the liquid gets to the mouth faster. Although they leak if turned upside down (again, just like the old sippy cups), I found them to work best for us transitioning off of bottles. Good luck!

  13. My mother is very fond of telling anyone who would hear it that I didn’t leave the bottle till I was six years old…..and I left it at six only because rats chewed up the rubber nipple of the bottle(gross, I know). Along with that accomplishment came the downside that I stopped drinking milk altogether. As my mom says, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad 🙂
    I still don’t drink milk straight up, but will sometimes have it with cocoa or instant coffee mixed in.

  14. No real advice, just two notes:
    1. From age 1, children only need 300 ml of milk per day (Owen’s getting double that). So, I wouldn’t worry if he doesn’t drink as much from a sippy as from a bottle.
    2. Maybe you can slowly change the RITUAL of the bottle: you mentioned he enjoys you holding it, so he probably is very attached to the moment you have together, with your undivided attention. I’d try to think of ways to keep that time, and move the bottle out of the picture. Ideas: snuggle together with a book, maybe you could have both the bottle AND the sippy, and you could take sips from the sippy. Perhaps a bit of rocking could help as well.

  15. We went cold turkey and it took about 3 days and then he got the hang of it. But honestly I am not sure I would worry. He’ll do it when he’s ready! And I haven’t seen 10 year olds drinking out of a bottle 🙂

  16. Maybe a sippy cup that has the soft plastic spout versus a hard one might help bridge the gap?

  17. I would second what Ruby suggested with the amount of milk Owen is consuming. I don’t know about the 300ml thing but when I researched the issue everything said to keep their cow’s milk intake between 16-24oz/day. I spoke with a pediatric dietician friend of mine and she keeps her son’s intake to 12-14oz/day. She told me that the calcium can displace the iron in their diets. I would just check with his pediatrician and see what she/he recommends for Owen.

    We use the soft tipped Nuby sippy cups for milk and a straw sippy cup for water (primarily because the straw sippy cup is difficult to clean). “E” is doing well with both but the first week or so, it was VERY slow going. I didn’t think he was getting anything from either. I heard that somewhere around a year, they just “get” the sippy cup. My “E” is pretty much the exact same age as your Owen. I think if you just keep at it, he’ll move on from his bottle.

  18. I second all of the recommendations about the soft spout sippy cup. It was the only thing my son would take when we first started with sippies. But they can leak more often than the hard spout ones!

  19. From the Speech and Language Therapist that I work with as part of Child Find and Preschool Special Education Services: The recommendation of being off the bottle around 1 year of age is for proper muscle development for correct articulation and speech production. When a child still drinks from a bottle, they utilize an infantile swallow or an inter-dental swallow with the tongue between the teeth. The muscle movements to produce the inter-dental swallow are “pre-speech” muscle movements. When children switch to a sippy/open cup, they start strengthening the muscles that help them with speech production, especially refining the tongue movements and control. I kid with this therapist that my leg muscles are pre-running…they just aren’t ready yet! Is it imperative that you change today, tomorrow, or next week? No. Is there are a reason to help the transition along instead of letting children give it up naturally? Absolutely!

  20. I am having a hard time too with getting my one year old to drink milk from a sippy cup. When I asked my pediatrician about it though she said that as long as he is getting 3 servings of dairy a day he is meeting the nutritional requirements. She also said that some kids never really drink milk. (Of course, we’re still offering the milk sippy ALL THE TIME…and we’ve tried many different types of sippies, with no success. We also tried the mixing technique (1/2 milk, 1/2 breastmilk) which worked fine in a bottle but was rejected in a sippy.) One thing to remember (that I found a hard concept to grasp and I have to keep telling myself) is that milk doesn’t replace breastmilk/formula…FOOD replaces breastmilk/formula. The calories and nutrition that they were getting from breastmilk/formula should now be coming from the food they eat and not out of a cup/bottle. Good luck!

  21. As a speech therapist for Early Childhood Intervention (birth-3), I agree with the previous “Anonymous” comment!! However I would recommend skipping the sippy cups and moving straight to the straw cups. Sippy cups continue to promote same the infantile swallow as the bottle. Sucking from a straw promotes a more mature swallow pattern, especially if you continue to snip the straw portion of the cup down until there is only a small amount protruding! Good luck!

  22. Ditto, I had a terrible time getting Emmy to switch to sippy cups. We went through I’d say 10 different brands before we finally found one she would drink from: Munchkin brand with the soft top. They didn’t last more than a few months (she’d chew on them and they lost their “no spill” effect) but once she was comfortable with those, switching to a hard top was no big deal and once she liked the sippy and would drink a whole cup full of milk, we went cold turkey on the bottles within a couple of days.
    I have consistently had a hard time getting her to drink from a straw. She just isn’t a fan. She can, and she will, but she doesn’t like it. This has not affected her speech (she talks up a storm and is very easy to understand) but I understand what the speech therapists are saying above! We were encouraged by the speech therapist who evaluated her at 18 months (she was a preemie, standard procedure) to encourage her to use a straw, just not had much success. Unless there’s a milkshake or smoothie involved. 🙂

  23. We went cold turkey. I had my son throw the bottles away and it was a rough three days but then all of a sudden he realized the bottles were gone and we haven’t had a problem since! Good luck to you!

  24. Thank God, Liam hasn’t given us any trouble with this– we’ve actually been bottle free since 8 months! They day he figured out how to use the sippy, that’s all we gave him from then on. He had been holding his own bottle since 6 months, so it was easy to get him to hold his own sippy too– BUT, he only drinks them laying down. He never tilted the bottle up & still doesn’t do it with a sippy. Maybe try laying Owen down flat as if you were feeding him a bottle?

  25. We switched Hunter from the bottle to a sippy with cows milk at the same time. I think you need to look at it differently. Now that he is a year old, FOOD should be his main nutrition (well in theory anyway) instead of milk.

    It was with that in mind when we switched him, and Hunter has been going really well. He drinks milk now like its is – a beverage, not a meal. He will take a few sips of it with food, and also with snacks or whenever he is thirsty. But it never replaces a meal.

    We have a sippy of milk available to him any time he wants it, always left out at his height. He drinks a lot of milk each day, and as he gets used to it he has been drinking more and more.

  26. My daughter was the same way. My son was easy, he didn’t care. But my daughter wanted the bottle for milk. If I tried all day to give her a sippy and still gave her a bottle at night? She would hold out for the bottle. No trouble drinking water, but milk was a no-go.

    Two things:
    1. I had to go cold-turkey and just throw out the bottles one day. Yes, it means you may have several days of minimal milk intake. But he can stay hydrated with water and fruit, and get calcium from other sources. If he’s like my daughter, though, he will hold out for that bottle if you cave and keep “just one.” This also required me to make the mental shift from formula to milk. Milk is not formula. Formula was the primary nutrition source for a long time. Milk is just a drink. Just one part of his diet. Not the end of the world if he skimps on it for a few days.
    2. I had to try a bunch of different cups to find the one she’d use. Turns out, she MUCH preferred drinking milk from a straw cup (I had the Gerber Cool Twisties cup at the time). I have a theory or two as to why that is, but there you have it. For the better part of a year, she only drank her milk from a straw cup. Fear not, she outgrew that particular quirk and would then drink from just about anything.

    Good luck!

  27. Hey Kate! I am no expert but just wanted to share what we’ve done with Janie. She will be 1 next week but I have started her on cow’s milk already (along with breastfeeding in the am and pm). Anyway, I decided to forgo sippy cups altogether and we use a combination of open cups and straws. It’s very messy but it’s worth it to me and certainly worth a try if you want! I also have a Nuk straw cup that is leakproof. It’s not what I prefer to use with her but for hot car rides and walks, I fill it with water. Good lick!

  28. And obviously, I meant to say good LUCK! 🙂

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