Weaning a baby off of a bottle and teaching them how to use a sippy cup can be a long, slow process that can make some mothers want to tear their hair out in frustration because depending on their child’s temperament, they can either take to the new item very quickly or stubbornly stick their feet into the ground and refuse to change until the very last minute.
According to What To Expect, one clear indication that mom is unconsciously making the weaning process a bit too uncomfortable is if he or she turns their nose up at the sight of the cup.
Some moms will attempt to push their little ones into accepting the cup because they don’t want to admit defeat in the middle of a battle of wills, but much like trying to train a skittish dog that loathes nail trimmings into having their nails clipped with a clipper, it is best to save the cup for either the next meal or, if the toddler is particularly stubborn, for tomorrow’s meal.
For moms who are concerned that they are accidentally making their child feel uneasy about weaning, here is a list of red flags to look for that a baby isn’t happy about having their bottle being taken away.
20 Struggles With Getting The Hang Of A Sippy Cup
According to Parents, one road bump that can make a child uncomfortable with being weaned off of his or her bottle is that they are unable to get the hang of using a sippy cup.
Traditionally, if an infant can hold his or her head up by themselves, sit up without anyone aiding them and easily opens their mouth up to take a quick taste from a spoon, then it should be pretty easy for them to learn how to grasp a sippy cup and take a swig of milk from it. Some children find it difficult to grasp the handles of the cup; one way to mitigate their discomfort with using the handles is by allowing them to use a straw to drink.
19 Acting Overly Fussy In The Morning
Parents points out that it is best to not make the switch to a sippy cup in the mornings because that is the time of day when toddlers tend to cling to their mother and the father the most, as well as items that they find both familiar and comforting—such as their bottle.
Instead, it is best to start weaning a toddler by eliminating their bottle in the afternoon instead of the one they drink in the morning so that it is not a huge change to their daily routine and they will be more apt to try something new.
18 Looking For The Bottles Even If They Are Hidden
According to Parents, some moms might think it is easier to have their toddler quit the bottle cold turkey and so they hide all of the bottles from their little one in the hopes that they can get them to just drink from a sippy cup the next day.
Hiding all of the bottles doesn’t work because it’s too much of an abrupt change and it is far better to plan a strategy that utilizes weaning your child off of a bottle in a slow but steady fashion and allow him or her to be an active participant in the process so that they don’t feel as powerless in the face of change.
17 Ignores The Lovey And Pacifier
Some moms like to try and substitute a bottle for a lovey or a pacifier if they notice that their little one likes to cling to bottle and gnaw on it as a way to comfort themselves when they are feeling upset or stressed out.
According to Parents, if your baby isn’t even trying to suck on the pacifier or the lovey and constantly ignores both items when you offer it to him or her as a bottle substitute then that is a glaring red flag that you are making the transition a bit uncomfortable for your little one and should probably slow down a bit.
16 Your Little One Doesn't Want To Eat Jarred Foods At All
Parents notes that weaning a baby off of a bottle tends to coincide with a baby also being introduced to solid foods (typically from six to 12 months of age) and so a child at this stage of their lives will naturally drink less formula since their palate is starting to mature and they’re eager to try things like jarred or puree foods.
It is important to keep a close eye on whether or not your baby shows any interest in trying jarred foods since if you’re making mistakes in the weaning process, some babies might not even want to try the jarred items at all and constantly ask for a bottle instead.
15 Gets Irate When There's No Bottle In The Crib
According to Parents, it is not a good idea to give your toddler a bottle in their crib at night during the weaning process due to the fact the milk from the bottle get into your little one’s mouth while they sleep and increase their chances of getting health issues. It’s best to feed them before you put them into the crib so they don’t wind up having to see their pediatrician because they aren't feeling as well as they should be.
That being said, if your little one keeps getting irate when they see that there’s no comforting bottle in the crib, it’s probably best to reassess your weaning strategy and figure out another way to keep them calm when they’re in their crib for the night.
14 Baby Rejects Teddy Bear And Demands A Bottle
Parents writes that since babies tend to find drinking from a bottle to be incredibly soothing and comforting, some moms attempt to swap one comfort item for another and give their child a teddy bear to snuggle with and carry around as a way to self-soothe.
If you notice that your child consistently rejects the teddy bear that you gave them during the weaning process and constantly demands a bottle instead, that’s a good indication that something went wrong in your first attempt and you should try to come up with a slightly different strategy in order to find success.
13 Your Little One Isn't Interested In A Sippy Cup
According to Parents, toddlers are naturally curious and even if they’re a bit perplexed by the idea of drinking from a sippy cup instead of a tried-and-true bottle, they should at least be intrigued by the novel object that their mom has presented them with.
If your child doesn’t show the least bit of interest in at least picking up their brand spanking new sippy cup, it’s time to try a different approach. One way to handle their disinterest is by talking up the cup and making it sound oh-so-cool because big kids use them instead of bottles. That way, it will spark your child’s interest and it will remind them that they get to use a special item only used by fellow “big kids.”
12 Isn't Keen On Trying Something New In The Afternoon
Parents writes that many moms prefer to cut out their baby’s afternoon bottle when the weaning process first starts because it isn’t as jarring as starting the day off without their favorite comfort and they are more apt to try new things if they’ve had a bottle in the morning because it helps to wake them up, much like a cup of coffee or tea does for adults.
You might be making the weaning process a bit too awkward for your baby if they aren’t even interested in trying something new (i.e.; a sippy cup) consistently for a week or more, even after they have had their morning meal from a bottle.
11 Complains Of Ear Aches
Parents points out that the longer a child drinks from a bottle—especially if they are still allowed to keep it with them all night as they sleep in the crib, the more apt they are to develop aches and pains in their ear due to the fact that liquid from the bottle can gather in their mouth as they sleep and wreak havoc on their health.
If you notice that your child keeps having to go to the pediatrician because they seem to be developing near-constant ear issues, it is probably a good thing to review your weaning plan with the doctor to make it more effective and nix the bottle in the crib at night ASAP.
10 Won't Eat Solids In The Morning
One mistake that some moms make during the weaning process is that they immediately swap out their child’s morning bottle for liquids in a cup and some solid foods.
Parents adds that if your child absolutely refuses to eat any kind of solids in the morning, don’t despair. It is perfectly normal for toddlers to be extra clingy when they first wake up and you should try offering them solid foods during the afternoon or the evening instead. That way, they’ll be more awake and should hopefully show more of an interest in eating solid foods like a “big boy/big girl.”
9 Their Sleep Schedule Gets All Thrown Off
WebMD notes that by this stage of their lives, toddlers have started to associate their bottle with a good night’s sleep and have learned to soothe themselves long enough to go back to sleep by taking a sip from it if they wake up in the middle of the night.
Pay close attention to your child’s sleep patterns because a toddler that keeps waking up in the middle of the night or sleeps fitfully is a red flag that something needs to change in the weaning process because they feel uncomfortable with having their favorite source of comfort being taken away so abruptly.
8 Constantly Wanting Cuddles From Mom
According to What To Expect, a clear sign that you’re moving way too fast with the weaning process is if your baby’s temperament suddenly changes and they start acting more clingy or even start throwing more tantrums than they normally do.
If you notice that your child seems to be crankier than usual or wants to spend every waking moment by your side, it is best to slow things down a bit so that they don’t feel bewildered by the process. There is no need to rush getting your child used to a sippy cup and ditching a bottle—slow and steady wins the race, after all!
7 Their Growth Rate Has Slowed A Bit
The Bump notes that if your pediatrician notes that your baby’s growth rate has slowed down a bit compared to previous months, then it is time to ask the doctor for some tips on how to successfully wean your little one off of the bottle and review your current plan with them to see what you are doing wrong.
According to The Bump, issues with weaning can cause a toddler to start “snacking” on the bottle and this contributes to their slow growth because they are not getting as many solid foods in their system as they should be at this stage of the game.
6 Constantly Turns Their Head Away From The Cup
One mistake many moms make when weaning their baby off of a bottle is that they don’t take no for an answer and don’t always pick up on their child’s subtle body language to see that they have had enough.
What To Expect writes that if your baby keeps turning their head away from the sippy cup, that is a clear signal that they have had enough for the day and they are over their comfort threshold level. Don’t try to push on because you want to adhere to some arbitrary time table; just let it be for the day and try again tomorrow.
5 Struggles To Hold Sippy Cup In Their Hands
What To Expect writes that another red flag that something got thrown off in the weaning process is if you keep noticing that your child still struggles to hold a sippy cup properly, even after being introduced to it a week or two prior.
Moms Love Best adds that another alternative to consider is to purchase a cup that does not have a rim or let them try a water bottle in the afternoon for their lunchtime beverage. You might also want to consider going over how to properly drink from a cup but break it down into small steps and only go over one at a time per day.
4 Baby Gulps Down Whatever's In The Cup
If your child keeps acting as if a cup is a bottle and gulps down their liquid, then that’s a good indication that you need to go back to basics with them. After all, you don’t want your little one to accidentally start coughing up a lung because they downed their milk way too fast because they treat the cup like a bottle.
What To Expect recommends moms let gulping babies play with the cup more so they get the hang of it and go back to holding it for them and letting them have a few drops until they get the hang of how to drink from a cup properly.
3 Asking For A Bottle In The Middle Of The Night
One red flag that something went wrong in the transition from a bottle is if your toddler keeps waking you up in the middle of the night and demanding to have a drink from the bottle. That means that you went too fast in the process and they don’t feel as comfortable at night without their favorite item to soothe them back to sleep.
Easy Baby Life recommends that if you keep getting wake-up calls in the middle of the night and an irate toddler demanding a bottle, you can store a cup on hand in the refrigerator and offer them a sip of water or milk instead.
2 Wanting To Carry A Bottle Or A Cup Around All Day
Moms Love Best adds that some babies can show that they are uncomfortable with the transition by constantly carrying around a bottle or a cup. Whenever a change crops up in their life at this age, children tend to respond by being extra clingy. Sometimes that manifests as sticking close to mom’s side and constantly needing reassurance and other times, it means that their bottle or cup becomes the item they need to have in their hands at all times.
You can try to nix this habit by purchasing a fuzzy backpack with a stuffed animal attached as a lovey or getting them a new pacifier instead.
1 You Notice Their Teeth Are A Little Bit Crooked
According to Moms Love Best, if you notice that your baby’s teeth are becoming a little bit crooked, it might be time to revise your plan to wean them off of the bottle because that is a good indication that you’re actually going too slow.
Even though it is important to go slow with the weaning process, there is a fine line between helping your child get accustomed to the new cup and being too slow to make any kind of effective changes. The longer your child drinks from a bottle, the better chance they have at developing alignment issues with their teeth.