When should I introduce a cup?

Here’s how you can spot when your baby is ready to use a cup

Is my baby ready to use a cup?

Here’s how you can spot when your baby is ready to use a cup

Choosing a cup for your baby can feel a little confusing and knowing when and how to begin introducing one might feel like a bit of an unknown milestone but try not to put it off. It might be a little messy but gradually over time your baby will learn to drink from an open cup and health professionals do advise that once your baby is one year old, feeding from a bottle should be discouraged.

The reality is that some babies enjoy using a cup as early as 6 months, and others aren't interested until after their first birthday, so you might need to let baby try a few different cups or wait a few weeks and try again.

When should I introduce a cup 474

Choosing cups for babies 

From sippy cups, free-flow beakers, open cups and those with built in straw, it can be a challenge to know which one to choose.
Chances are that they might find it easier to pick up and hold a cup with two handles to begin with and many mums suggest starting out with a sippy cup with a pliable, soft spout.
Experts and dentists also recommend cups or beakers with free flow lids as opposed to ones with ‘non-spill valves’. This is because they can help your baby to learns how to sip rather than suck and sipping is better for their teeth. However, you could try one of the open sloping style cups from the start as these teach baby to drink from a rim and not a spout. 

Helping your baby to learn to drink from a cup

  • Only put breast milk, formula milk or water in at first. 
  • Try teaching your baby to drink from the sippy cup without the lid on to begin with .
  • Show them the liquid inside.
  • Show your baby how it’s done and let your baby see you drink from it by simply mimicking a sucking noise. 
  • Tilt the cup slowly to begin with guiding your baby to help raise the cup to their mouth so they can sip the liquid – with sloping style cups your baby won’t have to tilt so far to reach their mouth.
  • Take your time – your little one may spit water out or only try a tiny sip to start with.
  • After your baby begins to get the hang of sipping and understands that there's liquid inside the cup, put the lid on and later encourage them to move from a lidded beaker to drinking from an open cup.
  • Take your time – your little one may spit water out or only try a tiny sip to start with.
  • Go at your baby’s pace but don't use the sippy cup for too long. As soon as your child can handle it, switch to a regular cup. Most toddlers can manage a two-handled open cup by the time they're 2 years old.

Cleaning Cups

Cups and especially spouts need to be cleaned thoroughly between uses. Liquid can easily become trapped in the nooks and crannies of valve and leads, causing mould and bacteria to grow – so make sure to check lids and valves regularly for mould. If you can't wash a sippy cup right away, at least empty it, give it a good rinse and take it apart until you can.

When should I introduce a cup?