1. Thanks so much for your post! As a mom and fellow OT (not pediatric), I appreciate and enjoy your blog! My 12 month old son seemed to have mastered the straw cup, but recently he started letting a ton of breastmilk and/or cow’s milk dribble out of his mouth and onto his chin and shirt. He does great with table food. Our pediatrician explained that his need for milk has decreased, but I admit it is tempting to turn back to the bottle when he doesn’t seem to be drinking much.

    • You’re welcome! Glad you are here, it is awesome to hear from other OT’s, even if they aren’t in peds. It sounds like you guys are right on track, there is a reason they call it a transition!

  2. We never used the valves in sippy cups with our son and he learned quickly to be careful, even with open cups. Also, we used tiny glasses (think shot glass size) for him to learn how to drink out of an open cup. Very little liquid to start and then moved up to more liquid and bigger glasses. From the very beginning, we put his cups (sippy or otherwise) on a coaster on any table, even at meals, to model the behavior, so he learned that habit from the start. They are never too young to learn!

  3. We have a 10mo old and a 2yr 4mo old (both boys) and both are still on bottles when going to sleep. The older one throws an absolute fit and will not go to sleep without one, unless he didn’t take a nap that day or he’s just dead tired. Should I go ahead and take both off the bottle now? I know we’ve let the older one go way too long and we’re seeing what might be the “side effects” of it.. delayed speech. He’s super smart and understands everything you say, but says very little. Anyways, I know it’ll be easier to take them both off at the same time, so should I do it now? Or wait a few months for the baby?

    • I would definitely keep your baby on the bottle for another month or so, unless he seems really ready to let it go. I would try prepping your older child for the transition, but I think it is fine to wait and do it together.

  4. Thank you for this post! I’m new to your blog. I have boy/girl twins- 13mo old. Our daughter has struggled with eating since day one. It’s a very long story- I’ll spare you 🙂 We’re just struggling on how to get them both off of bottles- esp our daughter. She still strongly dislikes her bottle, but I just can’t see her drinking much at all when we finally drop it. We give her a straw cup with water and she blows air into it and spits out any water she might get. With cups- she just dumps it out. With solids- she holds food in her mouth and won’t swallow for a very long time. Our son though- he eats like a champ and is always begging for more. They couldn’t be more different! Here’s to hoping we will be successful in getting rid of bottles 🙂

  5. Hi,
    My daughter is 11 months old and I’m a little late to the game but I just introduced the sippy cup. She still gets her bottles during the day (we’re down to 3-4), but I’m trying water in the cup. All she does is throw it. I can’t even get her to bring it near her mouth. Any tricks for getting her to actually drink from the cup, or do I just let her play with it until she decides to actually try and drink from it?

    • I make “flavoured” water. Normal amount of water but only 1 scoop instead of 4 scoops of formula. He really doesnt mind. Except at night. He likes his bedtime milk.

  6. Our 19-month old son is weaned off of bottles and is drinking from a non-sippy (normal) cup for a while, water and milk. However we put a bottle filled with water in his crib at night. Usually by the morning, it is empty. I do this to encourage his water intake, and it is a way for him to soothe himself back to sleep when he wakes up at night. Do you think this is OK?

    • I have to say that as his parent you probably have to make the judgement call. There aren’t any major side effects to this, except the ones I list at the beginning of the post. I can tell that most pediatricians would strongly discourage this as they want him to be able to learn to soothe himself without a bottle. I would have water available to him constantly throughout the day and also see my post on drinking from a straw- that would be really good for him. See the article index or the popular posts lists in the sidebar.

  7. My 11 month old is a formula loving bottle junky (he still has 7 bottles a day). I’ll work on some of your transitions, but we’ve FINALLY just got in a good sleeping pattern and I’m scared by cutting back on the formula that will wreck the sleep I’m finally getting. Do you find it does? Any advice or recommendations for that? Also on a kind of random question with cutting down on the bottles, is this the time you might start adding in an afternoon and/or morning snack as well then? Wasn’t sure when you started giving babies/toddlers snacks? Thanks for all your helpful posts!

    • Yes, I would definitely add a snack or two and take away the bottle or give it at the end of the meal. Make a slow transition, I don’t recommend doing anything cold turkey. When you cut back on the bottle he should eat more food to make up for it and won’t wake at night. Start to shift towards him eating every 2.5 – 3 hours.

  8. Hi..
    my son is 26 mo. He has a healthy appetite and oft times blesses me by having a banana. But does not like any other fruit. But amidst all d meals ( 4-5 in a day) he demands his bottle for sleeping. An afternoon nap can sometimes happen widout d bottle, but night tim will NOT happen widout the bottle. D bedtime snack, a story a song all happen, but alongside d bottle. If I keep it away from him, he howls uncontrollably and refuses to sleep. I am not able to be very stern with him.
    Of late, he asks for a bottle in b/w sleep too. He had stopped it, but has started again since a month or so.
    He has a full tummy but still wants d milk. Water he has in a glass or mug and juices in a straw cup. But milk he seeks only in lying dow position on d pillow. ALWAYS.
    I do not want to continue dis behavior.
    Pls help me help him!!

    • I know it can be really challenging, but I would start with the ideas I shared here. Be firm about not having it at other times and offer another object instead like a blanket or stuffed animal. Use this object consistently. As I mentioned slowly, maybe very slowly reduce the amount of milk you are giving him at a time.

  9. My son is 13 months old, is great at eating (he LOVES green vegetables, lol), drinks water from an open cup (we’re working on holding it indepentently) but not milk. I really appreciate the idea to use a different cup for milk, we’ll try that tonight. THANK YOU!
    Our son, however, still needs his bedtime bottle. When I dilute it or make it smaller, he will wake up in the middle of the night hungry. Any suggestions how to increase his calorie intake during the day?

    • I think that the bottle is still okay for another month or two, but use the strategies I shared above. Try adding whole fat greek yogurt or olive oil to his foods during the day and make sure you are feeding him every 2.5-3 hours throughout the day with no snacking in between those intervals.

  10. My 10 month old is great at eating table foods and drinking from a sippy; we are going to try having her drink from a straw now!
    My question is on bottles….. She is currently taking five 6 oz bottles (every 3 hours); all before meals (eating 3 meals + a snack)…. How should I transition to giving her bottles after meals (cold turkey?) Also if she gets a bottle when she wakes up would I also give her a bottle after breakfast? Thank you!

  11. I’m curious how does the bottle delay speech. My 16 month old daughter still has 3 bottles of formula every day, but I’ve cut back on the formula going into the bottle so it is mostly water. She has one in the morning when she wakes up, one for her nap and one at bedtime. She doesn’t say very many words, except for Mama Papa and G’ma. She doesn’t like milk or tolerate it in her stomach very well either. I am really wanting to get her off of her bottles for good, she has no problem drinking from sippy cups and straws. Thanks

    • It happens in more of an indirect way. After a year of age they are capable of more advanced skills like drinking from a cup or straw both of which promote speech because they are using different muscles in and around the mouth. It can more directly inhibit speech if a toddler is walking around with a bottle in their mouth all the time. Use this article as a guide, but trust your instincts and do what makes sense for you and your daughter.

  12. Hi i just read your article,but im still concern i have a 35 month old and ive tried about everything but he still wont let the bottle go! Can you please give me advice on my problem?!

  13. WOW, so glad I happened to enter the right search phrase to find your website, Alisha! I started out looking for weening techniques and couldn’t stop reading throughout your whole site. I especially love your mega list of table foods. This was EXACTLY what I have been searching for…healthy (but not radical), easy, fun, foods. My son is having trouble mastering the sippy cup (but drinks from a regular cup pretty well) so I am excited to try the straw idea. I think this will really appeal to him. So much useful and practical info here. Me and my 10 month old, Archer, thank you immensely! PLEASE keep it up…we will be frequent visitors!

  14. Hi Alisha,

    Love your blog! Wish I had found it earlier. I have a 20 months old girl and would like to wean her off the bottles. I’ve tried using a different cup and placing milk in it. She takes a few sips and either spits it out or refused to drink from it again. She asked for milk “bottle” first thing in the morning and at bedtime. She’s drinks plenty of water and have no problem drinking from a cup or straw. She eats three meals and snacks in between. She does fine the whole day without her bottle except for the morning and bedtime, which she demands for. If she doesn’t get it, she would fuss and cry. Please help with any suggestions, tips, or solutions.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Thanks so much Carrie! I know it is really tricky and it is certainly a habit at this point. Give her another object like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal at those times and maybe do something else like snuggle while reading. Transition slowly. You may have some tears, but stay consistent. Give her milk with her meals.

  15. My daughter is 18 months. She drinks water great from sippy cup and straw. If I put milk in the cup she makes a face like she just had a lemon. She won’t even try it anymore. We are down to two bottles, one with breakfast one before bed. I’ve tried numerous amounts of cups and making a big deal out of it. My doc said to just cut milk out all together and if by now she won’t drink it from a cup she never will. This seems harsh no milk at all ? All the sudden ? Any ideas ? Love your blog !

    • That does sound a little harsh! I have worked with other kiddos in similar situations, and it can really take some doing. I would start trying some milkshakes in a straw cup. When you have some success, which you likely will, start to make them more and more milk and less icecream. You can also try and just blend strawberries or banana into the milk and call it a smoothie. The latter will likely take some more time. Let me know how it goes!

  16. Hi, I’ve been binge-reading your blog for the last 24 hours and wish I had found it sooner! Thanks for all the helpful info!! I’m curious about your comment regarding giving milk after a meal. I’ve tried that with my (almost) 13-month old and she won’t take it, presumably because she’s full? The only way I’ve been able to ensure she’s getting an appropriate amount of milk is to provide it before the meal. Any suggestions?

    • That is fine Susan, as long as she still eats her meal. I would move towards trying to get her to eat her meal and drink milk during that time. Give her 2oz at a time if she is chugging it.

  17. I am a pediatric OT looking for advice for a toddler (30 month old) I see who is extremely picky eater. We are working on oral desensitization and tactile exposure to increase oral and body awareness. I am trying hard to implement a routine of sitting in the same chair, wiping face with washcloth before eating, nuk brush around mouth, but she only takes 1 -2 small bites of food with her front teeth and then usually has a tantrum and mealtime is over. She will eat cheetos, m&ms, sometimes fish sticks but mainly drinks formula from a bottle as her main of nutrition. Any suggestions in where to start with feeding? I feel I can’t wean her off the bottle yet because that is all she takes. I appreciate your help!

    • Hi Jessie, so nice to talk to another OT, and yes I would agree you are a bit caught right now with the bottle. Make sure you have her schedule modified so that she isn’t having her bottle right before a meal. She needs a 2.5-3 hour gap. I would work on (try demonstrating first) having her try to bite with her back teeth and take a drink of water/juice/etc. to help swallow. Are you familiar with the SOS approach to feeding? If so use the steps to eating. If not, focus on play with the food, not eating. She needs to get more comfortable with the food. Take it slow and break down what you are having her do with the food into small manageable steps. So start with just getting her to touch the food, then smelling it, kissing it, holding it in her teeth, etc. Make sure you demonstrating, don’t do this to her. Does that make sense?

      • Hi Alisha,

        Thank you for your advice. Yes, I took the SOS course, which I loved! Now mom has eliminated the mid-day bottle. She did mention that sometimes her daughter will not eat or want to eat for at least 6 hours. Her daughter looks to be at healthy weight so I told her to not offer the bottle and continue to offer her food. I told her to only offer the bottle after she eats so she learns to not fill up from only the bottle. Also mom mentioned that she usually falls asleep with the bottle so if she is really cranky it is hard to not give her the bottle in the middle of the day. I suggested a nap/bedtime routine and finding other things that help calm her. I should mention that she has a 6-month old baby and her daughter most likely has ASD so her hands are full and she is trying her best…

        • That’s great! I totally agree with your advice to her. It sounds like you are being a great support, and that it will take some time for her to figure out how to manage the change in schedule.

  18. Hi. I really enjoy your advice and your meal planning. It is so helpful! I have a 15 month old son that is getting one 8 oz silly cup of milk in the morning and one right before bed, eating 3 meals and one or two snack per day. He has been really picky with what foods he will eat (pretty much refuses all greens unless I can hide them). We offer him well balanced meals but if he doesn’t like what he is getting he will leave a lot of his food (or throw it on the floor) and will cry and tell me he’s hungry an hour later. I offer him a small snack or the same food he left earlier but most of the time he won’t eat the leftovers. I am wanting to ween him from the pre nap time and bedtime sippy of milk but he won’t settle down and throws a total fit. (We have a good bedtime routine and he goes into bed awake and self soothes). He also won’t drink milk unless it is warm. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for all of your great advice and suggestions!


    • Hi Sarah,

      Oh toddlers can be the most finicky eaters! It sounds like most of what he is doing is normal, but it is important to handle it the right way or you could end up with an extreme picky eater. I have so much info on here, I know it can be overwhelming, but I want you to click on the menu bar and head over to eating basics. Start by following all those steps. It is okay that you are still doing milk before sleep for now, once things get better you can remove it. I want you to make sure he always has a preferred food, and one extra tip I can give you is to change it up. Toddlers get upset and can’t move past it. Sometimes offering a dip, fork, cutting it differently can get them re-directed before the whole meal is lost. Once you read the page I suggested please let me know if you have any questions!

  19. I just want to say thank you so much!! I’ve been researching and researching on what to do with my almost 1 year olds eating habits and weening off a bottle and I can never get a straight forward response. It’s annoying. Please keep up the great work. Your awesome. Thank you!

  20. I have a nearlly 2 year old and he can deink out of sippy cups and drink theough straws no problem. But He has a bottle to put him to sleep, Im just not sure on how Im going to get him out of that habbit ? Anyone got any suggestions ? He eats fine he just needs his bottle to put him to sleep then we put him in bed.

    • Hi Marieta, look through the strategies here in this post and see what your comfortable with, I’ve used them many times with 2 year olds.

      • Thank you for that, but unfortunately its not the molk he wants he uses the sucking on th bottle to go to sleep, And its becoming worrying because his just not having a nap through the day until late late arvo when he is just completely exausted

  21. My 14 month old is taking one bottle a day, and it’s before we start his bedtime routine and gets his teeth brushed after. Is there a specific reason why he couldn’t have a sippy cup of milk before he gets his teeth brushed?

    • Nope, not at all, if you would like to do that then there should be no issues, as long as he is eating well throughout the day and isn’t relying on milk before bed. He’s still so little so this will probably be a nice transition for him.

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