How I Taught My Child to Drink From a Cup
by Susanna from Florida
Every family is different, but I chose to introduce a cup to my daughter as soon as she could sit (around 6 months). She was familiar with bottles and nursing prior to this. Some people may consider me a bit adventurous in how I introduced solids and liquids to my daughter. From the get-go I did actual solid foods and purees. By the time she turned 1 year old, she had tried 100 different foods. My main goal was and is to help my daughter be a self-sufficient healthy eater, which includes being able to eat and drink on her own.
There are opposing opinions on what types of cups are best for dental health and development, but we chose to start with an open silicone cup (ezpz brand is great) and a straw cup/soft nipple sippy cup. Several child development specialists and dietitians I follow suggested introducing open cups around the time you introduce solids, so we did. I would model for my daughter how to drink the water with only about a teaspoon of water in the cup. At first we had to lift the cup for her, but eventually she learned to lift the cup herself. Open cups are amazing, but many times we need closed cups that won’t spill for out and about or at daycare.
When introducing a straw cup, we modeled it and slurped rather loudly even to help show her how to suck on the straw. She caught on quite quickly. For a soft nipple sippy cup, I suggest finding one that is the same or similar brand to the bottle your child is used to. If they are not used to a bottle, a soft top is still best, because it is close to a human or bottle nipple, compared to a hard spout cup. Start with a cup with handles, when your child is first learning. This will be easier since their hands are small. Do not give up. It took my husband and me multiple tries to get our daughter interested in cups, but by a year old she was proficient in open cups, 360 cups, sippy cups, and straw cups.
Feel free to introduce different styles of cups as your child masters each type. The more types of cups your baby is comfortable with, the easier it will be for them in different situations when they get older. Imagine you are out and about and your child needs a drink, but you do not have their favorite sippy cup. If your child can handle drinking out of an open adult cup, straw, or water bottle, it will make everyone’s life easier. Modeling and repetition are key in helping your baby learn. Even if they do not pick up on this new skill right away, do not be discouraged. It may take many times for your child to try and show interest, but they will eventually learn, and it will be that much sweeter to see your little one master this new skill.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Susanna.
Susanna is an elementary school teacher in West Central Florida, a wife, and a mom of a wonderful little girl. She enjoys teaching her students and daughter new things. She loves exploring local parks and cooking with her daughter!