We all love seeing our babies grow and develop, and nothing is more exciting—and sometimes scary—than encountering a new milestone, like transitioning to a baby sippy cup. New milestones sometimes happen right before your eyes, like rolling over or grasping a new toy, but not all transitions become immediate milestones.
If your baby successfully grabs toys, you’re likely eager to see your child eat from a baby snack cup or transition from needing the bottle or breast. However, you may find that the introduction of a cup feels like a mystery. Although you see your baby grab the cup and bang it around, you’ll realize pretty quickly that introducing your child to a sippy cup is a process, not an automatic win.
However, you don’t need to fear the transition to a cup. Whether your baby is transitioning from the breast, the bottle, or both, this post helps you through the process of introducing a cup successfully and getting your child excited about using it.
When to Introduce the Baby Sippy Cup
Your pediatrician can let you know the ideal time for you to introduce a sippy cup to your baby. Each child’s development is unique, and babies need to strengthen some fine motor skills and certain milestones of cognitive development to properly hold and use a cup. However, generally, most babies are introduced to a sippy cup around 9 months of age or when they can sit up in a chair.
When you first introduce the sippy cup, keep these points in mind:
- You can still nurse your baby. While some parents want to transition their baby from the bottle to a sippy cup, many breastfeeding moms want to continue breastfeeding and only want a cup introduced to continue their baby’s development. You can just as easily transition your baby to a sippy cup while breastfeeding as you could if the baby used a bottle. Many babies crave the independence and new adventure you’re offering.
- Prolonged use of bottles may be harmful to your baby’s teeth. The way your baby uses a bottle compared to the mechanics of drinking from a sippy cup makes a difference in how much sugar remains on your child’s teeth. Sugar stays on your baby’s teeth longer after sucking on a bottle compared to a sippy cup. So, transitioning on time—when your doctor advises—is best.
- Your baby needs time to get used to it. Once your doctor tells you to introduce a sippy cup to your child, you will be excited to get it out and try it right away, but just like your baby needed a little help to drink from the breast or bottle properly, your baby needs your help and some time to transition to the sippy cup properly.
- Use the cup only when your child is thirsty. A sippy cup is a new adventure and an opportunity for independence, but you still need to monitor its use. A cup filled with juice or milk that your child carries around all day may allow your baby to drink too much. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cups filled with sugary drinks like juice and milk can promote tooth decay if your baby drinks from it constantly all day.
How to Get Your Child Excited to Use a Baby Sippy Cup
Most babies are thrilled with a new thing to hold, gaze at, and bang around on the table or floor, but you may wonder how to get your child excited about actually using the cup for drinking. The transition is a process, and if you follow these tips, your baby will understand how to use it and will want to use the sippy cup in no time.
When you first introduce the sippy cup, progress through these steps:
- Let your baby hold the cup. Although you’ll want to show the baby how to drink from the cup right away, resist the temptation to rush your baby through the introduction of a new item. Just like a new toy, allow your child to touch it, pick it up, look at the liquid slosh around, and so on. Some babies may put it in their mouths because nearly everything makes its way there at some point. So just give them access to the cup a few times at first and let them explore.
- Have your baby hold the cup during mealtimes. You can help associate the use of the sippy cup with mealtimes by offering the sippy cup at the table during meals and no other times at first. While you might be tempted to have them drink from it, just let them grab it and play around with it during meals. Again, many babies may use this opportunity to actually put it in their mouths. This habit can be further enhanced if you’re eating and drinking from a cup at meal time as well.
- Once your baby has gotten familiar with the cup, introduce drinking from it. The moment you’ve been waiting for is your baby to drink from the cup, but remember that it may not happen right away. Guide your baby in the drinking process by tipping the cup while your baby holds it, then allow some drops to dribble onto your baby’s lips. It may take more than one try and even more than one meal for your baby to realize that tipping that cup means drinking, but it will happen. Just be patient and trust the process.
Above all, keep the transition fun and exciting. Using a silicone baby sippy cup, like the ones from WonderDreamsWorld, offers a gentle touch to your child’s teeth and gums. Plus, you can use the cups with a straw or without the lid when you’re ready to transition to an open cup. So choose a sippy cup that can grow with your baby and keep the transition slow and steady to have your baby drinking from a cup in no time.