Parents often have questions about when to introduce a beaker to replace a bottle for their babies, and at which meals. Of course, some babies will adapt more quickly to this new stage of development than others but there are some tips for how and when to replace the bottle with a beaker.
- Once your baby is established on a proper protein meal at lunchtime, he no longer needs milk at this feed and this would be a good time to introduce a beaker.
- He should be offered a cool boiled water halfway through the meal and after every few mouthfuls. Many babies take quite a while to get used to drinking from a beaker and will only drink a very small amount in the first few weeks of its introduction. It is important to persevere. Experiment with different types of beaker until you find one that seems to suit your baby.
- If your baby is taking only a very small amount of fluid from a beaker at 11.45am, he may need to be offered extra milk at the 2pm feed or extra cool boiled water later in the day.
- Once he is accustomed to drinking water or well-diluted juice from a beaker, milk can be introduced in a beaker at either the 7am feed or the 2pm feed. This should ideally happen somewhere between the eighth and ninth month, preparing your baby for taking all his drinks from a beaker by one year.
- Experts recommend that all bottle feeding is stopped by the age of one year, as it can remove the appetite for other foods. In my experience, babies who continue milk feeding from a bottle past the age of one year will often refuse milk altogether when the bottle is eventually stopped.