Around 6 months old, you can consider introducing your infant to a cup when initiating food. To begin cup drinking practice, your baby should display all of the conventional readiness indications for transitioning to solids. If your kid is more than 6 months old and hasn’t started solids yet, we recommend that you do so right away. 6 to 12-month-old babies are eager to learn and take on new table skills, however introducing these abilities to a toddler who is extremely proficient and confident in their ability to drink from a bottle can be more difficult.
The goal for 6 to 12-month-olds is to develop cup drinking skills rather than to abandon the breast or bottle. Beginning open cup practice early allows your infant to perfect cup skills in a low-pressure environment before moving off of bottles or breastfeeding. It’s not too late if you missed this opportunity and your child is now 12 months or older. This ability can still be learned by your 12-month-old!
For my newborn, what cup should I use?
Cups come in a limitless variety of shapes and sizes, but you only need two:
- Open cup
- Straw cup
We strongly advocate open cups and straw cups so do most feeding therapists and swallowing professionals. It is because sipping from an open cup or with a straw is a lifelong skill, your infant will use both later in life. Sippy cups and 360 cups, on the other hand, are only for newborns and toddlers, so your child will learn a skill that will be forgotten in a few months. Despite advertisements to the contrary, both sippy cups and 360 cups encourage a drinking style that is detrimental to your baby’s oral-motor skills development. Please don’t second-guess yourself if your child is drinking from sippy or 360 cups and now are second-guessing yourself. Most babies are adaptive and pick up new skills fast.
I still require the use of a sippy cup. Which sippy cup is best for my baby?
Sippy cups come in a variety of styles, including softer spouts, hard spouts, handles, and no handles. However, as feeding experts, we must emphasize that we dislike sippy cups and urge that you use straw cups instead when you’re on the road or need a mess-free meal. Why? Sippy cups teach your child to use their tongue in ways that are not appropriate for drinking from a cup or straw. Plus, once your infant learns a sippy cup, it’s time to move on to more advanced cup abilities, which adds an extra step (and cost) to the process.
Now, before you go tearing through your kitchen trashing your sippy cups or worrying that you’ve permanently damaged your child, know that using a sippy cup would not harm your child and will most likely have no obvious effect. Indeed, one of our feeding therapists used sippy cups with both of her children on occasion as she now had those and they were spill-proof. While sippy cups aren’t ideal for developing oral motor skills, babies are remarkably adaptable and resilient.