Slurp! Handy tips for transitioning from bottle to cup

Friday, October 11th, 2013

It’s going to be messy, but it’s time. Prepare for spillages on clothes, laps, floors and furniture ג€“ your baby is ready to try a cup, so roll up your sleeves!

Some time between the ages of 6 and 12 months (maybe even earlier), your baby will have the coordination and dexterity to begin the transition from bottle to cup. A brilliant way of doing this is to invest in a few brightly coloured sippy cups, which can be bought from most larger supermarket chains and baby stores. You may need to shop around at first and experiment with different brands, as not all styles suit all babies. Make sure you buy a product that is labelled ג€˜BPA- free’, meaning it is free from the harmful chemical bisphenol A.

A sippy cup is simply a small cup with a finger-friendly handle on each side, and a removable lid with a spout. The spout replaces the teat of the bottle and allows a small amount of fluid to freely be sucked out of the cup when it is placed at a similar angle. Pay attention to the packaging when you shop for sippy cups, as it will dictate the recommended age for use. Often this is a case of only having a small hole for the liquid to flow through for younger babies, with larger holes and more immediate access for older babies and toddlers. Some brands of sippy cups are available for 4 months + and they range right up to one year. For younger babies, they should be sterilised just as you would a bottle or soother.

When your child is used to the sippy cup and you suspect she has the control to physically drink without spilling too much, it’s time to remove the lid and let her try gently to drink as an adult would. As sippy cups have two handles on each side, this will help initially with steadying the drink. Over time you might notice she only uses one handle and is quite steady without holding the other; this may well indicate whether she is left or right handed.

Learning to drink properly takes time, so be patient and maybe at first let your child wear a bib to prevent unnecessary spillages and changes of clothes (which can put a sensitive child off the experience altogether). Try not to fall into the habit of always offering sweet drinks as a means of encouragement ג€“ it’s better for your child’s teeth and overall health if they only drink water between meals.

To help prevent tooth decay, specialists recommend that by the age of one year, children should be transitioned to normal ג€˜grown up’ cups. So once your child is confident with a sippy cup, then why not take her shopping as a special treat and let her choose her own drinking vessel to celebrate? Children’s cups should only be made of safe, durable plastic which is dishwasher friendly ג€“ now is not the time to let little teeth crash against glass. Your child should not drink from adult glasses until you’re confident she’s old enough not to break it; safety is paramount.

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