Weaning from bottle to beaker
Why it's good to move on from the bottle?
Moving on from a bottle to a free-flow beaker and then a cup is a significant stage in your child’s development. Not only does it give them increased independence, but it also helps with speech development and can prevent damage to their teeth from drinks.
Weaning your baby from their bottle
Prolonged use of a bottle can delay your toddler’s speech development and damage their teeth. This is because milk flow from a teat is slow, meaning it stays in their mouth for longer1.
Advice from the Department of Health is that if you are bottle-feeding or combination feeding, it’s a good idea to introduce a cup rather than a bottle from about six months onwards. By the time your baby is one, they should have stopped using bottles with teats. Otherwise, they may find it hard to break the habit of comfort sucking on a bottle.
For this reason, and to encourage their independence, your toddler should be weaned off the bottle and drinking solely from a beaker or cup by their first birthday1.
What to put in their beaker
It may take a while for your toddler to take to their beaker or cup after being weaned off the bottle, so it is important to ensure they get adequate nutrition from their drinks. Cows’ milk is not recommended as their main drink until the age of 12 months, so you may wish to consider a nutritionally tailored follow on milk.
From the age of 1 year you may consider moving your toddler onto a fortified toddler milk, which is tailored to their nutritional needs. By offering your toddler 3 dairy servings a day, including milk or milk-based dairy foods, you will provide them with enough calcium to help their bones and teeth develop healthily.
What beaker should I choose for a weaning baby?
It is best to start with a free flow, no valve, lidded beaker when weaning your baby from their bottle, rather than a non-spill beaker with a valve. This will teach your baby to sip, rather than suck. A beaker with two handles will also make it easier for them to hold. Once they are confident drinking from a lidded beaker, by around 1 year, you can introduce them to a cup.
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Things to consider when introducing a beaker or cup:
- Start with a free-flow, no-valve beaker, preferably with 2 handles
- Move on to a cup when they have mastered a beaker
- Fill the beaker with milk or water, rather than fruit juice
- Use a follow on milk at around 6 months or a growing up milk from 12 months to enhance nutrient intake
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a varied, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant formula should be considered. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant formula, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health visitor for advice about feeding your baby.