Are you unsure about when you should introduce the sippy cup to your baby? In short, it depends, but there are signs to be aware of to see if your child is ready to make the move.
What is a Sippy Cup?
Sippy cups are training cups usually made of plastic, having a screw or snap-on lid and spout so your little one can drink without spilling the liquids. Some models come with and without handles, along with sippy cups with different kinds of spouts.
These cups are a good way for your little one to transition from bottle-feeding or nursing to drinking from regular cups. It also improves hand-to-mouth coordination and motor skills, so they have independence without making a huge mess.
When to Start Sippy Cup
There isn’t an exact time to introduce the sippy cup to all babies, as it depends on their preference and if you feel like they are ready.
The typical time to introduce the sippy cup is between 6-12 months, many recommending starting the sippy cup when your baby reaches 9 months old. In fact, a recent Pediatrics study found out that 9 months is the “ideal” age when transitioning little ones from the bottle, and that they should begin drinking exclusively from a sippy cup when they reach 12 months old.
Besides that, other signs that your baby might be ready include:
- They can sit without needing support and can sit up by themselves when on a high chair. This means he has good neck control and can sit upright for long periods.
- They can move their head and hands on their own
- They can hold their bottle and tip it, drinking independently
- They can eat solid foods, even if it is just purees
- They are interested in reaching for the cups you use
Prolonged bottle use may lead to cavities and/or iron-deficiency anemia, and it may encourage them to drink even more milk than needed. So it is recommended to work to have your baby transition to a sippy cup sooner rather than later. This may increase the risk of obesity, tooth decay, and even affect the development and positioning of adult teeth later on in life.
How to Introduce Your Little One to the Sippy Cup
Now that you know when to introduce your little one to the sippy cup, how can you do so gradually? Here are quick tips to follow:
- Allow your baby to look, touch, and hold the sippy cup
- Show him how to sip from the sippy cup properly once he is familiarized with it. Guide their hands to the handles and help them lift the spout to the mouth
- Be slow and steady, starting with one feeding a day rather than having him quit the bottle cold turkey. Be patient, as it is a process that takes time, with some babies taking a few days or week.
Talk to your pediatrician if you have more lingering questions regarding the sippy cup transition. Don’t stress! You will make the right decision when makes the most sense for your family.
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