Helping your child switch from bottles to cups can be challenging. Babies may become emotionally attached to their bottles as a source of comfort as well as nutrition.
However, bottles can also become dangerous to your child’s teeth over time. Continuing to use a bottle too long can cause your child’s palate to narrow. This can lead to an increased need for orthodontic treatment as they grow.
Bottles also expose a baby’s teeth to liquids over an extended period of time. Liquids such as milk, formula, and juice contain sugars that can increase the risk of tooth decay. To help protect your child’s teeth, you should encourage your child to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday.
It is important to consider your choice of training cup. There are many and varied options of child training cups available. Here are some things to consider when selecting cups for your child.
Keep the goal in mind when choosing a style of training cup for your child.
Cups advertised as “no spill” often contain a special valve beneath the spout. This valve does protect against easy spilling, but also prevents sipping. Instead, these cups require your child to suck on the spout, essentially replacing one type of bottle with another. This can slow your child’s training on cup usage. In some cases, these valves may even require a high level of suction, making them frustrating to use.
Look for a cup with a simple spout rather than a “no spill” spout.
These cups are easy for your child to use and help them learn to sip. Cups with handles can be easier for small hands to learn to hold. If spills are a concern, look for a cup with a weighted base that can help it self-right.
Remember that transitions occur in stages.
Phase out the bottle in favor of the cup, don’t try to change all at once. Once your child can use the cup, limit the bottle to water. This can help make the bottle less desired. Provide the bottle less often over time to allow your child time to adjust. Once your child has mastered training cups, start offering a small plastic cup without a lid. When they can use this new cup, phase out the training cup.
For more information from our Providence Pediatric Dentist about bottle to cup transitions or to schedule an appointment, contact Providence Pediatric Dentistry.