Sippy cups can be a great way for your baby to transition from nursing or bottle-feeding to a regular cup. They can also help improve hand-to-mouth coordination. When your baby has the motor skills to handle a cup, but not the skills to keep the drink from spilling, a sippy cup can give some independence while keeping cleanup to a minimum.
When should a sippy cup be introduced?
Some babies enjoy a sippy as early as 5 or 6 months, and others aren’t interested until after their first birthdays. Most babies seem ready around 7 to 9 months, though. Carly Morris M.A. CCC–SLP states that, “babies should begin to transition from the bottle to a sippy cup/open cup around 12 months.”
What’s the best way to transition to a sippy cup?
– Start off with a soft, pliable, nipplelike spout, which will feel more familiar to your baby than a hard plastic spout.
– Show your baby how to raise the cup to his mouth and tip it up to drink.
– Give it some time
– Try different models
– Encourage your child to use a regular cup when you feel they are ready.
What do I do if my child refuses the sippy cup?
– Dip the tip of the sippy spout into the milk or juice and then give it to your baby.
– Show your baby that the spout is like a nipple (it needs to be sucked on). Try touching the tip of the spout to the roof of his mouth to stimulate his sucking reflex.
– If he drinks from a bottle, give him half of his formula in the bottle. When it’s empty, switch to the sippy cup for the second half of the feeding
What not to do:
– Never let your child take a sippy cup of juice or milk to bed. The sugars can pool in his mouth and cause terrible tooth decay. The same goes for walking around with one in hand, nursing it for hours on end.
– Thoroughly clean the cup (especially the lid and plastic stopper) between uses. Liquid can easily become trapped in the nooks and crannies of a sippy cup and valve, leading to the growth of bacteria and mold.
– Don’t expect the sippy cup to be the magic answer to weaning. For some babies the sippy simply replaces the bottle and presents you with another weaning challenge.
– Don’t refill the sippy cup with fruit juice or milk throughout the day. If your baby has had his quota of juice or milk, then refill his sippy with water when he’s thirsty.