Cheers to Using a Sippy Cup
At 8 months old, your baby is ready to use a cup. This is a great milestone for both baby and mom—baby gets a little independence in drinking, and mom gets a break here and there from being a drinking fountain.
What type of cup is best?
Some parents prefer the convenience (and spill protection) of a sippy cup, while others go straight for an open cup with plenty of supervision. When choosing a cup, you have several options:
- Some cups feature a spout and valve, which means the cup works much like a bottle, requiring sucking rather than sipping. You can’t beat these for convenience, especially on the go. These cups are easy for older babies to master, but they may require a second “weaning” to a regular cup later.
- Some cups have a spout or other type of opening, but no valve. These help to minimize spills, but allow your child to sip rather than suck, which helps the transition to regular cups down the line.
- An open cup is just what it sounds like - a “big kid” or “grown-up” cup with no lid. You can teach your child to sip and to use a straw with an open cup; but, be prepared for more spills and a steeper learning curve at the start.
When to offer a cup
Mealtimes are a great time to introduce a cup, because baby can watch family members drink, and model the behavior. It’s best not to allow your child to hold onto the cup at other times (especially while walking), because it could cause an injury in the event of a topple.
What to put in the cup
Until your baby’s first birthday, you should only put water in your child’s cup. Juice is mostly sugar, and has no nutritional benefit at this age, and whole milk isn’t appropriate just yet.
Teaching your baby
Just like any new skill, learning to use any type of cup will take some practice—and plenty of patience on your part. You can try modeling the drinking behavior with the new cup, and then help your child try it. It may take several practice sessions, but before you know it, your baby will be a pro!