Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Transition from Formula to Milk, Bottle to Sippie Cup

I just received another great question!  A mom of a one-year old wanted help transitioning her child from formula to milk and from bottle to sippie cup.

Here is my answer using my own experience with my son William:

OK, so William only had one bottle a day (most days) from 6 to 12 months because I still breast fed.  Right at 6 months, we gave him a sippie cup with water (only the kind with a straw) and he enjoyed it as a fun thing, but it was definitely separate in his mind from “tool that gives me daily nutrition.”

When he turned 1, being the rule follower that I am, I had to wean from the bottle immediately (not a good way to live your life with a baby!)  But I was also ready to be done nursing.  My dilemma was that I didn’t want to wean from breast to bottle and then bottle to cup, I wanted to do it all at once. 

So, that is what we did!  I tried to give William a bottle of cow’s milk, a sippy of cow’s milk and a combination of formula and cow’s milk in either container, but he wanted NONE of it.  But just like trying to get him to take a bottle as a newborn or trying to get him to eat rice cereal, it was a gradual process.  The clincher for us was doing it every day, once or twice a day, and having my husband do it.  William was used to me breast feeding him, so he could smell it, but he was also used to me feeding him 4-6 times a day - a totally different way.

My advice is to do it gradually, maybe once a day, the same time of day, and make it a ritual.  And maybe even have husband attempt it every night.  My other idea was to do it at his least hungry time and his most hungry time (not sure which ended up working better.)  And my final idea (we did all of these things) was to give the bottle for a few minutes, and then slip a sippie in when baby pauses for a breath.  Combining all of this worked for us in the end.  But it did take 1-2 weeks with me far away from the ritual.

As an aside, one question I would have for you – the sippie with water that she isn’t interested in – is that a tip and sip or a straw style?  I ask because you’ll come to learn, as your kids get a little older, that they drink easier, faster and more out of a straw.  Simultaneously while your husband works on the sippie/cow milk transition, you might give her a straw style sippie with water (just as an addition to the other ritual that you’ll be working on.)

Good luck and keep me updated!

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