Transitioning From the Bottle

Toddlerhood is fun, but it’s already proving to be so many more decisions than I thought.  When does she go to one nap?  When do we convert her crib to a toddler bed?  And lately, when will we be done with bottles?

Abbie is still getting three bottles a day – they only way she’ll drink milk.  For her water, she’s pretty happy to drink out of any sippy cup we give her, but has so far refused to drink milk out them.  She’ll only drink milk out of her bottle…which she is rapidly starting to push away.  Last night, for example, she only drank about 2 ounces of milk before bed…then slept though the night, as she normally does.  I think our days with the bottle are numbered, which is both great (no more bottles to wash) and worrisome since she has yet to drink milk any other way.

So, as always, I turn to the internet for research and ideas, but more so to other moms.  What worked for you?  I’m thinking of getting different types of cups to get her to drink her milk.  I know she needs to have a certain amount of it per day, but honestly?  I don’t think she likes it all that much.  I think she only drinks it from a bottle because it’s routine.  She’s a great eater so I know she’s getting plenty of calories in her day, but I just worry about her getting enough dairy.

This is the cup we currently use for her water – they’re from munchkin.  She loves it we’ve had no issues with it, but she won’t drink milk from it.

I started to look for something different enough that she might drink milk from, and here’s some cups I’ve been looking at:

These are basically the same as above, only without the handles – maybe that could make the difference?


These are made by Avent, which were the bottles we’ve used. I’m thinking maybe the spout is more similar to a bottle?


Also by Avent, but this one is made to look and work more like a regular cup.
A regular cup, which may work if we help her with it.

Any thoughts?  I’m just hoping to make sure she gets her milk in each day in the easiest way possible!  I’m hoping a non-spill one works, since I want it to be easy on my daycare provider if possible too!


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Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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24 Responses

  1. Jess, she doesn’t need milk. Our daughter (almost 2) has never had milk other than breast milk ever. (She weaned at 15 months). Our son had such a love affair with milk that kept him from eating real food – seriously, he’d get full on milk and then refuse to eat – that we decided not to give it to our daughter ever. Once they’re over 1 and off breastmilk or formula, they really don’t need the milk. It’s the least effective way to get the nutrients and acts mainly as filler. I know other moms will disagree, but this was the decision we made. Our daughter gets a sippy of water at bed time and naptime in her crib, and a sippy of water with all meals. At daycare they give some watered down juice, but it’s not very much. Otherwise, she eats what we eat. She gets calcium and protein from greek yogurt, cheese, and greens. And she actually eats her food. We are still battling our 4 year old who would rather just drink his coconut milk instead of eat. :/

    We plan to do the same thing with baby #3, because it has worked so well with our daughter 🙂

    As for which type of sippy – we have so many types, and she’ll use any/all. She can use a regular cup, but still has trouble gauging it and often spills on herself, so we don’t let her have an open cup unless we’re there to help her.

    Hope that helps!!!

    1. Thanks! I for some reason thought she needed the milk, but today has really proved to me she doesn’t. I think as moms we’re always worried about them eating enough, right? Now to figure out how to do the switch!

  2. Go for the open cup cup or a straw sippy cup with the straw cut down. The stoppers in regular sippy cups, while convenient aren’t great for oral-motor development. (I’m a speech therapist- so I’m all about development in the little ones!)

  3. We transitioned our daughter a few weeks ago right before her first birthday. It was two days of her begging for a bottle, and only taking little sips from the sippy, but after that she was good to go. We have a Nuk Orthodontic without the valve, and the Avent trainer that you pictured above. She definitely tried to throw herself back and suck on the Nuk, but learned very quickly that it was too much milk for her to handle. With the Avent we have to be right there guiding her or else it can get really messy. She is young, so I just accept it will be messy, but I am happy to have the bottles out of the house. A friend who is a speech therapist recommended teaching them to drink with a straw if they won’t take milk from a regular sippy. Good luck!

  4. I would maybe try a new cup. Maybe if she has a special “milk” cup she will take to it? We started swapping Kenley’s lunch time bottle for a sippy cup with her food and she didn’t have any problems. So then we just completely switched her over. She definitely doesn’t take as much as she used to though. I think she just gets bored because it’s no longer a comfort thing {like the bottle was}. But because she’s getting so many nutrients from real food now I’m not overly concerned. I think as long as she’s getting some for that calcium, she’s still sleeping the same and she drinks enough water to stay hydrated you’re probably OK and can play around with some different cups. Maybe ones that are most similar to a bottle?

    Good luck mama!

  5. We transitioned Mac completely off bottles right after his first birthday. Now he has milk (out of a straw sippy cup) with meals, only. I also agree that kids don’t need that much milk and it could keep them from eating other foods. Now we only give him milk with meals and when he asks for it (which is rarely). He mainly drinks water all day long. If I were you, I’d just stop milk bottles completely. Give her milk with meals, along with cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, but don’t force the issue. She doesn’t need cow’s milk in the same way she needed breastmilk or formula.

    1. You want to know something weird? I’ve never had milk with a meal other than breakfast. My mom never had it growing up (my grandparents kept kosher), so she literally would not let us have milk with lunch or dinner…and now I think that way too. So it never crossed my mind to give it with meals…strange huh? I’m thinking maybe she’ll still get it before her nap and at bedtime but in a cup, until she doesn’t need it at all.

  6. We used those Avent sippy cups with Callie as her first cup and they were great! We went from those to Tommee Tippee straw cups for milk only and use a variety of straw cups for water. I really love the TT straw cups for milk. They are super strong, insulated and don’t leak. We’ve had ours since Callie was about 9mo old and now at 21 1/2 months none have broken. I tried the avent 360 cup but it was more of a mess/pain than help. We are just now starting to use real cups only at snack time and only at the table. I was lucky in that Callie really took to cups and no issues transition from BM to milk (in fact she drinks a LOT of milk which is a whole other issue). I’ve heard that it sometimes helps to make the cup for milk “special” and to just go cold turkey and not offer bottles at all. I have also heard that some doctors said as long as they are eating other dairy products they are getting most (if not all) the benefits of milk and it’s not a big deal if not drinking a lot but I would of course check that with your pediatrician bc advise on that is so varied.

    1. Oh I’ll look for the TT cups! Everyone seems to be echoing the same thing about the amount of milk, so I’m feeling ok about taking it away or paring it down!

  7. We had a hard time finding a sippy that Hayden would drink milk out of. He would drink water or juice out of ANY sippy but wouldn’t take milk from anything but his bottle. Someone suggested we try the Nuk Active Learner cup and he took milk from it no problem. Once he was confident in that we switched to the smaller Nuk sippy cups and from then on he would drink milk from any sippy. I think the key is that the Nuk Active Learner is very similar to a bottle. Worth a try!

    1. I’ll look for that one – thanks! Glad to hear Abbie isn’t the only one that won’t drink milk from anything else!

  8. i agree with the first gal! when kaye wouldn’t drink milk (except for in her oatmeal) our doctor said don’t give it to her at all because she does’t need it. kaye gets all of her calories from meals and at the only kind of liquid is water. oh oh…our doctor also said to not give anything to kaye before bed except water. have you ever googled milk rot? i mean…those are pretty extreme cases, but anything other than water before bed is bad for teeth. that’s just what i know! if your gal doesn’t want to drink milk…don’t worry about it. 🙂 whole fat greek yogurt, cheese, veggies…that’s the good stuff.

  9. We never used sippy cups per the recommendation of our speech pathologist friend, so we sent straight to the advent cups that are similar to a real cup. Liam loved them and eventually started drinking out of a real cup around 15 months old. You could also try some straw cups!

    1. Wow – that’s great that he drank from a real cup so fast. Definitely going to get an assortment of cups!

  10. Cups: Zach has been on straw cups for water since 12 mos but hated giving up bottle for milk at 15 mos. We got him to a wide spout sippy cup for milk and were doing about 3x7oz bottles too. For 18 mos we really started focusing on switching to straw for milk and he hated it. Sometimes I could distract him with favorite show and sneak it to his lips – it was a battle. Most success was due to the novelty of something new – honestly our best luck was with shot glasses. He loved the novelty of something new and it is small enough that he learns the “cup” mechanism quickly. We still “help” and supervise very closely. My mom found little plastic cups like dixie cups that are clear but he likes to crush those.
    Milk: We continued to battle with having a “bottle time” after meals where we sat with him and “strongly encouraged” him to drink – considering it a failure if he didn’t get 4-5 of his past 7 oz. It was stressful. Then we met with a nutritionist (as part of the other services he is receiving) and she took the pressure off. She said “aim for 20 oz of dairy on most days” – knowing that some days will be less. Dairy in any form – so cheese, yogurt, etc. He will happily eat two cups of yogurt as a snack, so we focus on the total amount now instead. We offer the milk in whatever cup we’re feeling adventurous for during the meals and if he drinks it, great, if not, no problem. He sips water throughout the day from straw cups. The nutritionist also said they stop needing the “milk feeding” as a separate time, like sitting down with the bottle, that was for babies and now they are ready to drop that. She said offer food every 2-3 hours. So we aim for breakfast (w/milk) at 7:30-8, then Snack at 9:30-10, Lunch at 12-12:30, Nap 1-3, Snack 3:00, Dinner 5:30 and depending on his dairy intake and how he did at dinner, we squeeze in a quick snack before bed at 7:15ish. It is nerve-wracking those first few times they go to bed “without their bottle beforehand” but turns out they really didn’t need it I think.
    Sorry, WAY too long of a comment but we are in the midst of this as well so I had a lot to add. Let me know if you have any other questions! One last thing – we have been using Playtex straw cups for months and they were fine but have started leaking like crazy so I ordered 4 different straw cups last night to try out. Will let you know if I have a clear winner!!

I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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