Transitioning from a feeding bottle to a sipper and then to a regular cup makes your baby become more independent and confident. It also betters hand-to-mouth coordination and does away with the possibility of tooth decay that bottle-feeding for too long can cause.
By the eighth month or ninth month, you can encourage your baby to switch over to a sipper. A sipper is a training cup, made of plastic with a screw- or snap-on lid and a spout, that lets your child drink without spilling. Parents need to show their babies and also communicate to them the joys of using a sipper.
Show your baby how to raise the cup to his/her mouth and tip it up to drink. Show him/her that the spout is like a nipple. Many babies may take some prolonged time to get used to this new feeding method but do not lose your head over that.
The longer you wait for your baby to grow out of the bottle-feeding habit, the more attached he/she gets his/her bottle and the harder it gets for him/her to give up. In addition, bottle-feeding past a certain age can lead to tooth decay.
Once your baby has learnt to sit upright on his/her own, you should introduce the sipper and try getting him/her used to drinking from sipper. You should begin by offering water in the sipper during meals or snacks. With time, start filling the cup with breast milk so he/she gets used to the idea over time that all his/her beverages can come from a cup.
However, while your baby is getting used to the feeding cup, do not phase out the bottle suddenly. Do it over a period of time so that your baby’s habits can take their own sweet time to set in. Once you see your baby is faring well with a sipper you can decide as to whether to introduce a regular cup or not.
Remember to use only unbreakable cups that are made of materials which are not toxic, because your baby may have the habit of sucking the cup inside and outside.
Please remember that different kids take to new things differently. Some babies may not even need the sipper – for them, the transition would be directly from a feeding bottle to a regular cup. So do not compare your baby’s development with that of other babies.