By the time babies are 6 months old, many have either started or are just starting to eat foods other than breastmilk or formula. When introducing your baby’s first foods this is a perfect opportunity to start introducing the sippy cup as well. Here are four tips on introducing a sippy cup:
If at all possible, do start with a free-flowing sippy cup. I know they’re messier, but they’re much better for oral and dental health, especially if your baby is starting to get his or her teeth. The goal is to try and wean off the whole sucking on a nipple/spout reflex. It has been shown that extended bottle and/or soft-spout sippy cup usage is linked to higher rates of dental caries and poorly aligned teeth. The first few days and even weeks will be the worst, but it gets better. She may completely drench herself every time, but your baby will learn the simple laws of gravity of the liquids in her cup soon enough.
If free-flowing is completely out of the question, don’t fret. However, it is ideal (not the law) to have your child drinking from a free-flowing cup by their first birthday.
2. Fill It up
Fill the cup up. When your baby is experimenting with the cup, her or she will have an easier time accessing the liquid when they don’t have to tip the cup way up above their heads in order for the liquid to come out.
3. Hard Spout
Drinking from a hard spout helps a baby differentiate between drinking from a bottle and cup. Try skipping the soft spout all together if possible. It will help your child transition to an open-top cup faster and reduces the risk of dental issues related to extended soft-spout and sucking dependency.
Don’t force it, but be persistent. Make sure to offer the sippy cup at every meal in the high chair, but don’t attempt to force a baby to drink from it if he or she does not want to. If your baby rejects the sippy cup at first, don’t be discouraged. He or she will eventually come around if you keep making it available.
These are four tips to help your baby transition to using a sippy cup using the most ideal methods according to many doctors, dentists, and lactation consultants. Don’t expect immediate results and remember some babies get the hang of it faster than others. The overall goal is to have your baby capable of drinking from hard spout, free-flowing cup by their first birthday.