How to wean your baby off the bottle – dentists concerned that no-spill cups cause tooth decay
How to wean your baby off the bottle
A news article in the Telegraph (05 May 2011) by Rosie Dodds, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT (National Childbirth Trust) says that Dietitians have long recommended that babies should be introduced to drinking from a cup from six months, and bottles avoided after a year.
Rosie Dodds comments that whilst it may take a little time and be a messy experience, teaching babies to drink straight from an open cup avoids the need to change from a bottle, to spout, and then to open cup.
Dodds says that a baby’s individual needs should be considered but offers advice to help make it easier to move from bottle to cup. She suggests sitting next to your baby so you can see where the liquid is and also tilting slowly so they can sip the water. Go at the baby’s pace, offering a drink from a cup as part of each meal – whenever possible for you – and without any pressure.
The news story goes on to say that whilst “No spill” cups allow toddlers to feed themselves and keep the furniture clean, there are growing concerns among dentists that the way these ‘no spill’ cups are used may be damaging children’s teeth. Sipping even diluted juice throughout the day means that a child’s teeth and gums are constantly bathed in sweet, acidic liquids, which can cause tooth decay. The simplest and kindest thing is to give babies only plain water or milk to drink. Fruit juices aren’t necessary; whole fruits can be given instead to provide vitamins.
Sara Keel, founder of Babycup, reiterates the potential dangers of sippy cups for babies and sippy cups for toddlers – especially those with no-spill valves. “When researching the best cup for babies we spoke to dentists, orthodontists, midwives and speech therapists. Everyone we spoke to raved about Babycup open drinking cups and gave them the thumbs up as the best choice of drinking cup for babies and toddlers. Choosing an open cup for babies allows your child to learn to sip rather than suck. A baby cup shouldn’t require the powerful suck of a vacuum cleaner like many no-spill cups require.”
See the Babycup FAQs page for more information on how to use an open cup and also milk feeding using a cup: FAQs page
The Babycup range of open cups for babies and open cups for toddlers are the healthy choice of cup for children. Choosing an open baby cup is a very positive choice.