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How to introduce your baby to a cup?

How to introduce your baby to a cup

When your baby is switching from a bottle or breastfeeding to drinking from a cup, non-spill cups can be a great help. Moreover, if your child is ready to sit in a highchair, they is also able to drink from their first non-spill cup, or at least is ready to learn to drink from an open or non-spill cup.

This way not only teach baby that liquid may not come from the breast or bottle, but from another source, but it will also help to stop the bottle when the time comes for weaning. Also, by switching to a non-spillable or open cup, your baby will rely less on suckling and reduce the risk of damaging healthy teeth since breast milk and formula both contain lactose.

When is a child ready to drink from a cup?

Baby can be given a non-spill cup when she/he starts eating solid foods, around 6 months of age. The main signs that advanced a baby is, tends to be ready for a non-spill cup are the ability to sit up straight as well as have good neck control. At this age, baby has strong neck muscles and can freely move head and arms on their own, a desire that he/she is ready to start learning. 

What kind of cup should you use?

It's up to you whether you want your baby to start with a non-spill cup or an open cup. However, the AAP recommends switching from a non-spill cup to an open cup (such as a cup with two handles) as soon as your child learns to use it, usually by age 2.

Sippy cups

  • Spill-proof and portable
  • Require children to suck, which puts teeth in danger of decay
  • Over-use of sippy cups with hard spouts may get in the way of mature swallowing development.
  • As your baby has learned how to sip, sippy cup is no longer needed, and an open cup is recommended.

Straw cup

  • Baby needs demonstration but that type requires less practice
  • Can be tried while reclining

Open cups

  • Encourage mature swallowing
  • Limit between-meal drinking
  • Eliminate need to transition twice

Infants during development are ready to drink from an open cup held by another person, starting at about 6 months of age. Once they are able to sit up unaided and press their lower lip against the rim of the cup, you can practice holding the open cup with some water or milk to the child's mouth and tilting it slightly towards the child.

How to introduce your baby to a cup?

  1. Start with a small amount of water in a cup to reduce spillage.
  2. You may need to suggest this yourself when you present the concept, but once your child starts to take the cup with both hands, you can wrap your arms around him gently and help him slowly bring the cup to his mouth.
  3. Tilt the cup up slightly for a couple of seconds so that the water touches the child's lips, and then remove it. The idea is for the child to start closing their lips around the rim of the cup rather than pouring water into their mouth.
  4. Simulate drinking water at every meal, with a big "ahh" to indicate that you've had a drink.

Preventing baby tooth decay

Dentists are concerned that the way parents give their baby non-spill cups could damage young kid's teeth. Frequent drinking juice from bottles or non-spillable glasses means that a child's teeth and gums are constantly bathed in a sweet, acidic liquid. This can lead to tooth decay.

The following tips will help protect your baby’s teeth:

  • Sucking on sweetened drinks from a bottle is one of the most common causes of tooth decay in young children.
  • Giving your baby to drink water from an open cup from the age of six months, you form good habits in him. You will help them gain independence and also protect their teeth.
  • If your baby is formula-fed, it is recommended that you stop drinking from bottles with nipples by the time he is one year old. Otherwise, it may be difficult for them to break the habit of sucking on the comfort bottle.