How To Introduce Your Baby to Cups and Beakers

Wondering how to introduce your little one to a cup? Here's some information that might help!

Has your baby begun to steadily grab items all by himself? Well, it’s a big steppingstone and probably an indication that it’s time for your little one to ditch the bottle and start drinking from a cup. Graduating your kid from a bottle to a cup may seem like an impossible transition. But trust us, if done right, it can go smoother than you think. Plus, your baby learning to drink from a cup is an indication that he is growing and thriving.

Prolonged bottle-feeding doesn’t only limit your baby’s ability to learn essential skills but also affects his dental health. Both formula milk and breast milk contain lactose, which can hang around your baby’s growing teeth and gums and cause tooth decay. Beakers or sippy cups will allow your baby to rely less on sucking, and this will prevent any potential damage to their teeth.

Why prolonged bottle use is a bad idea?

Many experts advise parents to start transitioning their little ones to cups as soon as they turn 1, and completely ditch the bottles when they are eighteen months old. Prolonged use of bottles can cause many problems, including:

· Obesity. Prolonged bottle use alongside supplementary food can add several calories to your child’s diet. Studies conclude that babies who feed through bottles at age 2 are more likely to become obese by age six.

· Difficulty in the weaning process. Too much attachment of a child to the bottle can make weaning very difficult for him.

· Palate formation and altered tooth positioning, because sucking from the bottle can significantly hinder oral development.

· Picky eating habits, because bottle-feeding can often make your child refuse other food items.

At what age should you introduce cups?

It’s best if you determine the right time to introduce cups through key development markers rather than age. For instance, if your child can sit up properly unassisted, it’s time to start their transition! Babies are usually 6-9 months old when this phase starts. At this stage, their neck muscles are building, and they are using this newfound ability to move independently and grab items. These signs clearly indicate that they are ready to learn something new.

No matter at what age you decide to graduate your child to cups, bottle feeding should be completely ditched before they turn two.

What kind of cup should you use?

Beaker, juice cups, free flow cups, open cups, sippy cups—there are a lot of names, and it is easy to get confused. But look at the bright side, you have a variety of options, and you can pick and choose whatever your kid likes.

We strongly recommend trying a few before you settle on anything. This will help you identify what your baby likes. But always look for something that’s light and easier to hold

Some cups are specially designed with straws and flip-up sprouts to help your baby with the transition. But experts usually recommend the use of sippy cups and open cups. Both are suitable for babies under age 1.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should start with a sippy cup and slowly transition to an open cup (two Handled cups) when their babies are 12-18 months old.

Here are a few things about each type of cup to help you decide how to begin.

Sippy Cups

· Prevent spillage

· Portable

· Still requires sucking which can cause tooth decay

· Prolonged use of sippy cups can lead to improper swallowing development

Open Cups

· Aid mature swallowing habits

· Eliminate the need for repeat transition

· Limit between-meal drinking

How To Introduce Your Baby to Cups

Start with a dry run

In the start, it's all about getting your child familiar with the cup, and this stage of transition should include no liquid. Start by giving your child an empty open cup or sippy cup and see how they react. Get them familiar with the cup by giving it to them as a toy, and later, try teaching them how to take it to their mouth. Take the cup yourself and pretend as if you are drinking through it. The “cheers” action might also help here.

Try getting your baby cups matched with their favorite toys. This will also make your child interested in the cup.

Add some liquid

As soon as your little one becomes familiar with his new cup, you can begin to fill it with small amounts of water, juice, or milk. Hand them the cup while you are feeding them solid food. Remember that at this point, you are not trying to replace their bottle-feed, you are just taking your child one step ahead and teaching them something new.

Start to swap

After your baby is comfortable enough with the cup, try swapping their bottles for a cup. Don't do the swapping during their main mealtime but do this at midday or any other time when your baby doesn't consume large portions of milk. Repeat this for at least a week until your child masters the midday transition. Once you are done with the one-time transition, swap another of their bottle-feed with a cup. Slowly continue to replace each one of their bottle feeds with a cup until they completely ditch the bottles.

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