sippy cups and soy milk

Dear Dr. Phil,
Sassy Readers!
I'm troubled! We have a BIG problem at our house.
Sippy cups.
My five (almost SIX) year old loves sippy cups. He WON'T drink his beloved chocolate soy milk any other way. He drinks two cups in the morning, one when he gets home from school, and two before bed. These are his words exactly, "blanket, movie, chocolate milk!" I am at a loss with this one.

 I've tried:
buying him fun cups to drink out of, he hates them
giving him vanilla soy milk in his sippy cup to wean him
telling him that kindergartners DON'T use sippy cups
 telling him "only baby use sippy cups!!", he doesn't care
  NOT even buying the soy milk, I end up at the store at 9pm
telling him that Walmart doesn't sell soy milk anymore
throwing away the sippy cups, I just end up buying more
telling him that his teeth are going to rot, he doesn't care

Here's the problem:
He is a VERY picky eater. His diet consists of chocolate soy milk (only Walmart brand), chicken nuggets, ham, green beans, and waffles. He WILL.NOT. eat anything else. I have heard what Dr. Phil says on this matter, "he will eat when he gets hungry!" We've tried NOT feeding him. By 3:00 in the afternoon, I am begging him to eat or drink anything because he has not once asked for something to eat. He just simply doesn't care about food. I honestly feel that the soy milk is SOMETHING halfway nutritious in his diet, so I continue to buy it for him. EXCEPT he HAS to have it in a sippy! I told my friend the other day that he drinks from sippy cups, and her response to me is "my 18 month old doesn't even drink out of a sippy cup!"

This morning, we were out of soy milk. He begged and begged and begged for me to take him to Walmart so he could get his milk. I was cleaning and doing laundry and didn't want to stop everything to run to the store. I told him we would go later tonight. He refused to eat anything else. I even offered soda, nothing. I knew that if I sent him to school without eating, he would be hungry all day and probably faint on the bus (I know, that's probably a little extreme). So, what did we do? Loaded up and went to buy soy milk.

So I ask:
IS 5 years too old for sippy cups?
WILL he eventually just outgrow this?
WHEN will he finally start eating his peas and carrots?
AM I making too much of big deal out of this?
WILL he eventually get hungry?
I am seriously asking for opinions on the matter. I've been wrestling with myself over this matter for a year and a half now. I would love to hear your take on this! But, before you give your opinion, look back at that picture that is posted and tell me
 HOW can you tell that cute face "no"?
*I know what two people would say for sure...
Dr. Phil: "get rid of the sippy!"
My Mom: "give that sweet boy his sippy cup!!"


Kimi said...

In my opinion there are two things to consider.
1) choosing your battles. My mom's advice to me I usually " he won't do it when he's 13!" which is not always comforting, but usually true.
2) think about what your real concern is for you child, go with you gut on what the real underlying issue is. If the main issue is that your worried about him not getting enough to eat, who cares about the sippy cup! If there is some other issue, that the sippy cup is aggravating, maybe there is something to do about it.
You just have to decide what is right for you family :)

Good luck!

Dawn said...

I agree...pick your battles.
BOTH of my kids are picky eaters and my son never did drink milk of any kind. He would spit out everything but formula...even when mixed.
His problem was he wanted to drink from his bottle all the time...and I didn't want him to. SO...I got creative...:)

There are some sippy cups that look like sport bottles. At 5..there's no reason your son can't drink from a sports bottle. :) And only YOU will know it's a sippy cup (it has a leak-proof bladder under the sport bottle neck...so no leaks. SCORE!)
I've seen them in Walmart and Kmart. They look like the big sports bottles, but they are fun colors, are small enough for little hands to hold, and are leak proof.

Julia said...

My son was super picky too and going to school really helped. I think seeing what the other kids were eating at school helped.

Hang in there! It'll get better eventually, right?!!?

Natalie said...

yikes. You've tried all my suggestions. My only other thought is that maybe he needs to be embarrassed of his sippy cups and then he'll stop. Do you have him in an organized sport or anything like that? We found that Sam wanted to be a lot tougher and "manly" after being on a T-ball team last year. I think he'll definitely grow out of it. He won't go off to college with a sippy cup. (I had to keep telling Shawn that when the kids were hard to potty train.) I'd wait it out. Maybe you could sneak in other foods. Have you checked out the Deceptively Delicious (or whatever it's called) cookbook or something like it? Those are my only thoughts. If he's underweight, I say feed him whatever he'll eat. We were advised that by our doctor when Sam started having "swallowing issues". It was rough, but we pushed through. You'll get through. Be strong! ;)

Michelle Paige said...

Yikes! We have the opposite problem over here...kids that won't stop eating! I do believe that peer pressure will eventually inspire your 'adorable' boy to not want sippy cups. It will take time, but it will happen. Hang in there!

Sylvanfire said...

I agree with some of the above. It's a faze and at some point he will grow out of it. You can try the sippy cups that look more like a bottle... or I've also seen ones that you put a straw into... It may be a thing about the flavour the sippy cup adds. I know my husband even drinks certain drinks out of specific cups due to flavour or texture... Try something made of the same texture as the sippy cup.

For the picky eater thing, I wouldn't worry. I've seen A LOT of picky eaters when helping at day cares and schools. In time he will add to his diet, just keep trying to offer it. If you put something new try for a few days or a week off and on with the one thing. He may not eat it but if it's not there he never will.

I hope this helps.
Angie :)

ShanMajors said...

#1 - 100% yes.
#2 - Only if you stop allowing him to make all the decisions. HE is the child, your the parent. PERIOD.
#3 - When he's hungry enough and when he know you are not going to budge and give in to him.
#4 - I don't think so, just tell him Sunday all the sippy cups go away - literally throw them away. DO NOT buy any more. Make him understand they are no more in the house and I will not buy any more. He will eventually stop wanting and understand if he's thristy he'll have to use a normal cup like all other 2 yr olds and older. He's five, he has the ability to understand that and he has the ability to understand that he can eventually get his way, b/c you keep giving in to him. Stop giving in!
#5 - Yep, don't make a big deal about it. He will eventually get it and want something to eat.

Also, in my experience with my 2 kids. Once they stopped drinking away their hungry with a sippy cup THEN they started eating normal.

Good Luck!

Kim said...

I agree with Kimi, somethings just aren't worth fighting over.

The only person that really knows your son is you...

Cindy said...

I have to agree with ShanMajors on "drinking away their hunger". I know with my little one, his solution to everything is ook (milk) or juice but I know that most of the time he is just hungry so no ook or milk, just food. I have been known to give a little drink with the meal though. Good luck!

Mandy said...

Pick your battles and you can be assured he won't be using a sippy cup when he's 18!

I have 5 grown children and the things I worried about never came to fruition.

I know it's hard not worry. Hang in there and perhaps give him the chocolate soy milk AFTER he eats. He's probably filling up on the soy milk. The chocolate is sweet :-). He's a smart boy...and cute too!


Lindsay @ Diary of a Crafty Lady said...

Aren't 5 year olds fun:) I have a 4.5 year old, and I am discovering the meaning of pick your battles as well.
I have a couple of feelings on your post.
1 is, I don't think there is anything wrong with a 5 year old drinking out of a sippy cup. Unless it is hurting him or you, I dont know I would personally choose that as my battle. In fact, I sometimes intentionally give my 4.5 year old a sippy cup so that she doesnt spill! So, you could look at it as a blessing that he doesnt ever spill on your rugs, or furniture:)
2 It sounds like he is manipulating you - big time. I like what another commenter said, that you are the parent, and he is the child. There is an excellent book that I think would give you some great ideas - Parenting with Love and Logic. Really, it addresses these specific behaviors you are talking about, and ideas of how to overcome them!
One specific example from the book that I love is, you give your child 2 choices that YOU can live with. This gives them a sense of independance without removing your authority as a parent. Then, if they don't choose in a timely manner, or don't like either one, you choose for them (and you stick with your choice). It teaches them that you are in charge, but that you respect them enough to let them make their own decisions.
Thanks for sharing your story, I very much appreciate your courage, because it helps other parents like me to come up with new ideas, and know that I am not alone in my struggles.
And seriously, try the book :)

Grandma Carla said...

Give that sweet boy his sippy cup!

Sassy Sites! said...

I love you, Mom! :)

Jenerek said...

It sounds like you give in because you are worried about his nutrition. If he lived every day of his life on chicken nuggets, ham, green beans, and waffles (and maybe a vitamin) he'd be in great shape! Sounds like a balanced diet, even if it isn't ideal in your opinion.

An important thing for you to realize is that going without any food for an entire day won't kill him.

If you don't want to go to the store to buy the chocolate soymilk, then tell him that you can't today but you will go another day. You don't have to go completely anti-chocolate milk, but you can show him that he can live without it for a day (or two.)

And about the sippy cup - just do what works for you. If you don't mind him drinking a sippy cup, then give that sweet boy his sippy cup! If it isn't working anymore, then either inform him that his rations go down to 2 cups a day, or go cold turkey on him - whatever you feel best about.

You're a great Mom! Different things work for different families.

Leigh Anne said...

I have a picky eater, too. He's 9 now and we have come a LONG way from only chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, ramen noodles or corn. He still doesn't eat a whole lot of things (letchup, jelly, fruit of any kind)but we took it one meal at a time. We've even paid him to eat things (I know!) Like olives just to get him to try something different. Now he knows that what we have for dinner is all he gets, and he has skipped plenty of meals.

As far as the weaning, my son doesn't care, even now, if "only babies do that". So that one never worked. We just had to take stuff away for good. If you've given in before then you'll give in again and these kids are smart enough to know that. If you really want them gone, you just have to stand your ground.

Lene said...

I agree with ShanMajors. Especially about the drinking away their hunger. And soy milk isn't very nutritious to begin with. Plus the whole issue with the soy isoflavones.

If it is really something you want to change you have to be willing to do the hard work. If you keep giving in you don't really care if he has sippy cups so what does it matter what anyone else thinks?

Brooke said...

I must say I am impressed you are seeking advice on here! I agree with the others that he will not take a sippy to college. On the other hand, if it is something that bothers you then toss those things out. One day I had enough of them and I threw them all away. I don't even remember why; maybe because they wanted to take them to bed. Anyway, once you toss them out just stay strong. Girl, he will eat when he is hungry. Just keep offering a good assortment of things. I have one that the only veggie she will eat is raw broccoli, but I still put all the veggies for the day on her plate and one day she may try. She also went to school numerous days in Kinder without breakfast. When she realized finally how it made her feel she started eating breakfast again. And, BTW, when she was pre school age the only milk she drank was strawberry soy milk. Now she wion't touch milk at all and I just let it go. I feel your pain. Hang in there. He will be fine regardless!

Priceless Heritage said...

My 5 year old still drinks out of one simply because eventually a cup will spill on my floor and I don't want the stain...but we do only give cups at the table during meals. My 5 year old is asked to bring water to kindergarten and she says a lot of the boys bring their water in sippys so it isn't so strange I guess. About eating..my four year old refuses to eat much of anything also so my dr. put him on PediSure every morning. I hear soy isn't too good for males in large quantities though. They will eventually eat something. Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a sippy is that bad. I think the biggest problem you have is that he gets his way for everything. His cute face may be hard to say no to, but you must!! It's better for kids to have limits and know where they stand. If you say you can't go to the store, stick to it! He will respect you more, eventually.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing. We all have our parenting battles. We all have things that we could do a better job at. You sound like a great mom, who loves her son and wants the best for him. You are doing a good job!!

Jackie Koll said...

I think people have given you tons of advice - good advice at that. Here's my 2 cents worth. I think the first thing you have to tackle is not giving in to him and running to the store. He has learned a behavior that he will always get what he wants. Once he figures that out, you can start breaking the sippy cup habit. Personally, I hadn't really thought about when to stop the sippys with my kids . . .they drink lemonaide or water alot during the day and I don't want it spilled so I like the cups with a lid - the sports bottles are a great suggestion! He WILL eventually get hungry, especially as others have said, if he stops drinking away his hunger!

stephaniegiese said...

I have a 4 year old who is still using a sippy cup, but he is perfectly capable of using a regular cup. It's mostly just me being lazy and not wanting to clean up spills. I'm going to put on my parenting specialist hat for a minute though... (sorry, but that actually is what I do for a living, I have a badge & everything ;) What concerns me about what you are saying isn't so much the sippy cup, but rather the insistence on the routine. (only walmart brand, same times every day, etc.) I think we'd need more info to give you good advice, though. Is he finicky in other areas or just with food? For us, this was the first sign that my son had a sensory processing issue.

I know it sounds crazy, but my son actually qualified for an occupational therapist through the early intervention program in our state because last year, at age 3, he did not know how to use a regular cup and was still eating with his hands. It might be something you want to consider, especially if you are having concerns in other areas with motor skills or sensory issues.

Moira-Lin said...

He won't use a sippy forever!! It makes him happy. Saige will still occasionally grab a sippy and go upstairs and I figure who cares! :) One day he'll decide he wants to be just like Jackson and use big cups. What if you bought Jackson a really cool cup, would Logan want one too? Just a thought. Love you!

Unknown said...

My concern for you is that this seems to be a power struggle between you. Some kids learn very early how to be in control when it comes to food and/or bathroom issues. When you give in to their demands, they learn they can control you. Maybe next time you're out of soy milk and he demands more, make him the deal that you will only buy more if he drinks it out of big boy cup. Set a date and tell him when the sippy cups are going away. Count down to the days (maybe a week in advance). Give him a reward (like a small toy) for being a big boy and moving forward. The point is that you need to be the one that sets the rules and enforces them because when he knows he can win these battles, it doesn't take him long to turn his terrorist tactics to other venues. That sweet little face looks less sweet the older he gets and the more critical the battles become. He may also be learning that he can turn on those baby blues (think the cat in the Shrek movie) just to get what he wants. He is not going to faint and/or starve, but if he goes hungry for awhile, it may teach him to bend a bit. Be strong because this child has got your number.

Megan {The Brick Bungalow} said...

My daughter is similar with bottles. She's 2 and will only drink milk from a bottle and she has to have it a little warmer than straight from the fridge. I took the bottle until I was 3, when my mom bribed me with a Cabbage Patch doll. It worked. I'm assuming it'll be that way with my daughter. She only gets them at nap time. She's similar to your son and will request a bottle before bedtime. We cave because it calms her down and helps her sleep through the night. Good luck with the sippy!

Sassy Sites! said...

GREAT advice from everyone!! I really do appreciate your opinion. I've been struggling with this for so long, that sometimes it just seems like a DAILY battle! The truth is... I DO GIVE IN! After reading all of the advice from everyone, I've gotten a great reality check. I am suddenly realizing that this issue has very LITTLE to do with "sippy cups". It has everything to do with me being in control. Especially with what Suesan just said "That sweet little face looks less sweet the older he gets and the more critical the battles become." I've never thought of it that way before! Seriously, it got me thinking about the BIGGER battles that are ahead. I'm not going to be able to run to the store at his every need. I think that maybe I am babying him because he's my last. He DOES get his way alot! I loved the book recommendation from Lindsay. I've heard of Love and Logic, but never have read the book or even looked into it. And it NOW makes complete sense to me that he filling up on milk and that's probably the big reason why he isn't hungry. Honestly, I've NEVER thought of that before. I am so grateful for all of the honest opinions. And I am SUPER thankful for the reassurance!! :)

Unknown said...

I almost can't even believe I am reading this...not because I'm shocked that a 5 year old drinks from a sippy but b/c my five year old boy is not the only one! So here's a little backstory...I have a 5 year old boy, 4 yr. old girl and 3 yr. old boy and they ALL are addicted to choc. milk from a sippy. Not soy milk tho, hershey's syrup in 2% milk. Not even half as healthy as soy milk. But anyhow, I am in almost the exact situation...except times 3. My five yr old, who starts kindergarten tomorrow, drank from a bottle till he was almost 4. No joke. And now it's the sippy. My hubby is always getting on me for not taking it away, but I'd like to see him try. Well the other day (about a week ago) I ran out of hershey's syrup mid day, and since I have been meaning to try to ween them off the choc. I decided why not go cold turkey. And just like your son, my kids don't eat much at all. Like mac n cheese, corn dogs, hot dogs, pizze and pb&j are the only food they'll eat. And they don't eat breakfast, barely lunch and sorta dinner. I go thru like 9 gallons of milk a week. So back to the other day. I sat all 3 kids down on the couch and said no more choc. milk. ( I didn't take the sippy away tho.) And they all seemed ok, until they wanted their next cup. They begged and begged and I held my ground. I ended up giving them some SunnyD which is the only other thing I had besides milk and water. So over the next two days, they just replaced the choc. milk with sunnyD until it was gone. But b/c it must not be quite as filling, to my surprise they startd asking for food, like even breakfast. It took about 3 or 4 days and they were eating 3 meals plus several snacks a day. And only having regular milk when they were really tired. They all still ask for choc. milk everyday, but when I say we don't have any they r okay. I have been giving them juice, and in a sippy, but since it isn't like their crack...I mean choc. milk, they don't want it 24/7. I hate giving advice b/c I hate it when ppl would judge me for having my five year old still using a sippy or choc. milk being his staple food item. But nonetheless, I think it is possible to break the habit of choc. milk. And even tho my kids all still drink from the sippy, it is drastically less considering they don't have anything yummy to drink from it. All kids are different and it's always hard to take something away from your child that they love, but since my 5 yr old started eating meals instead of drinking them, he's always hungry and has actually been assking to try new foods. Nothing crazy, but he even tried mashed potatoes and zucchini at dinner the toher night. So no matter what you decide, good luck. I definately do not judge u tho, it never really bothers me that my kids still have sippy cups, but it seems to bother everyone else. And it is a hard habit to break...hope you figure it out. And keep us updated.

AmyH said...

Wow this makes me glad we just tackled the sippy cup problem while my daughter was 1 1/2! That being said I know how hard it is to break these habits- and kids just get more stubborn with age. The cold turkey approach worked for me for her bottle and the sippy cup. We also bribe my daughter to eat- 1 bite of fruit and you get a bite of bagel bite. Time consuming and annoying but it seems to be helping. At least the few things he eats are fairly healthy. Good luck!!

The Webb's said...

We have the same issues with our now 3 year old. We found out he has sensory issues in his mouth. He can control the flow of milk better in a sippy cup (he chews down on the spout). He wouldn't eat anything for the first 2 years except yogurt and applesauce and some crackers due to the sensory thing. Took him to a Therapist (food) to find out his jaw was under developed so a year later he is finally eating things he has to chew. We have found these cups at Walmart that have a "chewable" type staw and we are weening him. Best of luck to you.

Tamarra said...

lots of kids go through it. i grew up on a steady diet of top ramen and oreo cookies. its nothing to worry about i eventually started eating other things but it had to be on my terms.

as for the cup, i would try to nip that in the butt as soon as you can, which im sure is what you want since your asking for help.

one way is to invite his friends over or older kids who he looks up to. this will often force him to do as the other/older kids do because he will want to appear cool.

another idea is to get a bottle like camelbak with the bite tops, if it is the texture he likes the bottle may be just the ticket. plus if you are embarrassed by the sippy cups this will seem more grown up.

good luck, lots of people go through silly things like this with kids.

Swedie said...

Have you ever seen an adult using a sippy cup? He'll give it up when he's ready. Also, he may be continuing to demand it as a way of having control over SOMETHING in his life - or insisting on it because you are trying so hard to STOP him using it.