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How do I get my 13-month-old to drink from a sippy cup?

My 13 month old will not drink milk out of a sippy cup. She will drink water and a little juice. When I put the milk in the cup she throws it on the floor. I have every cup on the market. Any ideas?

Heather | Expert


It seems to me that you are trying to transition her from a bottle to a sippy cup.  My thoughts are that she doesn't want to give up the bottle. I remember that my kids didn't like giving up their bottle.

I would suggest that you let her have her bottle in the morning, give her the sippy cup at lunch time, then the bottle at dinner time. Do this for a week or two. Then when she gets used to the sippy at lunch, transition the dinner time bottle to sippy cup for a week or two. Then when she is used to that, take the breakfast one out of the picture last.  

The bottle is probably a comfort item to her and because the nipple is shaped differently from the sippy spout, she's not used to feeling a different shape and texture in her mouth.

A couple of months after we weaned my son off of bottles, we bumped into some friends at a company get together and their one-year-old had her bottle on the stroller tray. He reached out to her bottle and started moving his mouth like he wanted to suck on the bottle. We thought it was cute and chuckled, but it reminded us of how much he loved drinking from a bottle and that he remembered it as a comfort to him.

It takes time, patience, and persistence for the transition to be a success. Every time she throws the sippy cup, don't get mad. Gently pick the cup up off of the floor and place it back into her hands. If she throws it three times, remove it to the counter where she can see it, but cannot reach it. When she gets thirsty after a few bites of food, offer it again. If she throws it, repeat the process. You don't have to say a word. Just quietly pick it up off the floor and place it in her hands.  

I once had a job where I was a paraeducator for a boy with severe autism. He would throw his sippy cup all the time for various reasons. We did the method explained above in silence and eventually he never threw his cup again. By being angry or verbal, it sometimes adds more stress to the situation and even though it is negative attention, it is attention she is getting.  

Good luck. Eventually she will cave in to you because she will be thirsty. Remain calm and stay persistent.

Read more answers by Heather