Sippy cups are the perfect way to introduce babies to drinking from a cup. We learn more about the do's and don'ts when it comes to sippy cups.
Are you thinking it might be time to say bye-bye to bottles but don’t know if you are quite ready to let your little one run around with an open cup? Well, the sippy cup may just be your new best friend!
Making the transition to regular cups a whole lot easier, a sippy cup is a training cup – usually plastic – with a screw or snap on lid and a spout that lets your child drink without spilling. Designed especially for little hands, most models come with easy-grip handles and some even have a valve inside to regulate how quickly liquid can come out.
There is no magic date as to when you should bin the bottles. Some mums start their babies with sippy cups as early as 6 months, while other babies aren’t interested until after their first birthday.
It is really up to you to decide when you think your child is ready. Keep in mind however, the American Dental Association does recommend transitioning from a bottle to a training cup by about 12 to 18 months to prevent tooth decay.
How long does it take?
Although the transition to a sippy cup may seem easy enough, it’s not always as simple as throwing away the bottles and giving your little one a cup.
While some babies will take to a sippy cup immediately, others will take some time to get used to the idea (some may never use one). Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that will (hopefully) make switching over to a sippy cup as easy and stress-free as possible.
Start off with a sippy cup that has a soft, pliable spout - This will feel more familiar to your baby than a hard plastic spout and is more gentle on baby’s sensitive gums.
Show them how it’s done – Show your baby how to raise the cup to their mouth and tip it up to drink.
Shop around - There are heaps of different sippy cups available with varying spout shapes, cup shapes and flow rates. They aren’t too expensive either, so it's worth letting your baby test-drive several if one isn't working. Every child is a little different, so try a few different cups until you find what works best for your child.
Let them play – Yes, they may drop it enough times to drive you crazy but that is all part of getting used to something new.
Switch halfway – If they drink from a bottle, try giving bub half their feed from a bottle then when it’s empty, switch to the sippy cup for the second half of feeding.
Mix it up – Try different liquids. Some babies will drink water or juice, but not breast milk or formula from a sippy cup (Do not give juice to a baby 6 months or younger and limit juice for older babies or water it down to manage the amount of sugar you are giving them).
Give it some time – Until your baby masters the technique, you may want to put only water in the cup to avoid too many messes. And don't worry if your baby doesn't take to the sippy cup right away. It can take some for your child to get comfortable with taking a drink from a cup. Just hang in there!
Never let your child take a sippy cup of juice or milk to bed - The sugars can pool in their mouth and cause tooth decay. The same goes for walking around with one in hand for hours on end. One idea is to limit juice and milk to meals and snack time, and refill the sippy cup with water when they are thirsty.
Don’t overfill the cup when baby is first learning to use it. – Start by filling the cup only to about one-quarter full until their skills mature.
No need to hurry – Wait until your baby can sit up and hold an object with both hands.
Clean the cup thoroughly (especially the lid and plastic stopper) between uses - Liquid can easily become trapped in the nooks and crannies of a sippy cup and valve, leading to the growth of bacteria and mould. If you can’t wash your sippy cup right away, at least give it a really good rinse and make sure you are regularly checking your lids and valves for damage or mould.
Don't expect the sippy cup to be the magic answer to weaning - For some babies, it simply replaces the bottle and presents another weaning challenge.
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.
Where to begin?
With so many cups out there, it can be hard to know what’s right for your child.
The Tinitrader team are loving Philips Avent’s Grown Up Cup. The Grown Up Cup incorporates all the essentials a beginner's cup requires and goes one step further by helping your child to learn to drink from an open cup just like Mum and Dad, minus the mess.
The cup’s secret is the unique spill-proof valve which only lets fluid through when activated by your little one’s lips. Designed by the experts at Philips Avent, the fast-flowing valve enables your toddler to drink effortlessly, without having to suck from the rim – Genius!
Don’t worry if your baby does not take to a sippy cup straight away – keep trying and eventually they will figure it out. In most cases, it will not happen overnight but give it some time and before you know it your little one will learn to love their sippy cup as much as the bottle or boob and be drinking without any issues at all!