Introducing a Sippy Cup
Perhaps you want to offer baby a little water, or you want to wean him or her from the breast and go straight to a cup without bothering with bottles, or you simply want to get your baby accustomed to using a cup.
When you decide, for whatever reason, you will need to introduce your baby to a training cup (sippy cup) of some kind:
- A training cup has a lid that minimises spills and a spout for your baby to drink from.
- Many have valves that are designed so that the cup will not leak even if it is turned upside down – though these sometimes need a lot of sucking for baby to get a drink.
- Other cups have a more free-flowing spout -these are often more messy, but your baby may understand more quickly what drinking from a cup involves.
- There is an enormous range available, and finding the right training cup for you and your baby will probably involve an amount of trial and error.
There is no particular age at which your baby will be able and happy to use a training cup – many parents try when their babies are about 6 months old, but it is not essential that your baby begins at this age. Extra water and juice are usually unnecessary before your baby’s first birthday, and all babies progress differently, so try not to compare your baby’s skills with others.
It is important to note that dentists advise that training cups should only be used in moderation. Never put your baby to bed with a cup of juice or milk, as the liquid will pool around your baby’s teeth, and this could lead to tooth decay.
Ideas for when you are introducing a training cup:
- Don’t try the cup if your baby is tired, grumpy, or very thirsty, as he or she will only become frustrated – try in the morning when baby is well rested and cheerful.
- Your baby may not realise that there is anything in the cup, so may seem disinterested – dip the spout in the liquid for him or her to get a taste.
- Pretend to drink from the cup yourself, or get an older brother or sister to do it, while making sounds of appreciation – your baby may want to copy, and should enjoy the result!
- If your baby refuses a cup, try different ones until you find one that your baby is really comfortable with – some have softer spouts that may feel more like a nipple.
- Your baby may have difficulty sucking strongly enough on a cup with a valve – try removing the valve, but be prepared to help your baby, as the liquid will flow quite quickly.
- If you want to wean your baby from the breast to take milk from the cup, put milk into the cup the very first time that you give it to him or her, not juice or water – baby may only associate the cup with juice or water and refuse to take milk from it!
- Always be sure to clean your baby’s cup extremely well – particularly the valve – to avoid it becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Drinking straws – your baby may be able to suck through a drinking straw from an ordinary cup. Cut the straw to a suitable length if necessary, but put the cut end in the drink as it may be sharp. And do not allow baby to walk or run around with a straw in his or her mouth as it is dangerous.
- Shot glasses – these are a perfect size and shape for baby’s little hands and mouth, but you must of course supervise closely.
- Plastic egg cups – also perfect in size and shape, and like a shot glass, they don’t hold much so a spill will not make too much mess!
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.