Transitioning to a Sippy Cup: Part 1

Whether your baby is exclusively breastfed or given pumped breast milk in bottles, she will probably be transitioning to a sippy cup at some point by her first birthday. Some babies have an easy time grasping the concept of a new cup while others have a rough go at the beginning. This week we’re helping you navigate transitioning to a sippy cup.

The Timeline for Transitioning to a Sippy Cup

Your baby is growing up and it may be time for transitioning to a sippy cup. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing a sippy cup between six and nine months of age. Regardless of whether they were breast or bottle fed, babies of this age are ready to learn how to manipulate a sippy cup. Also, this timing gives your baby the Transitioning to a Sippy Cup: Part 1learning curve necessary to wean from a bottle altogether by 12 months. The American Dental Association supports this timeline because continuing to drink from a bottle beyond the first year contributes to plaque and potential cavities. When babies and toddlers drink from bottles, the liquid collects around their teeth and may cause decay.

It’s important to note, however, that transitioning to a sippy cup does not mean you need to wean from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can continue as long as it is mutually agreeable to you and your baby. Serving other beverages or even pumped breast milk from a sippy cup is not mutually exclusive to breastfeeding. In fact, the comfort and familiarity of breastfeeding may help with babies who have a difficult time learning to use a sippy cup.

Types of Sippy Cups

Beyond the dental reasons for transitioning to a sippy cup, parents find sippy cups easy for their babies and toddlers to handle and most are less likely to spill and create messes. There are many types of sippy cups and you may find it helpful to experiment with different styles to determine which one is easiest for your baby. After she masters one type of sippy cup, you can move on to another.

Mouthpiece: The mouthpiece of the sippy cup is probably what will make the most impact on your baby’s ability to drink from it. It’s a good idea to start with a soft tip as your baby is learning to use a sippy cup and then later introduce a harder plastic tip. Some mouthpieces are wide and fill up your baby’s small mouth while others have a smaller spout. And some offer straw mouthpieces. Most sippy cups have an inner valve which is the mechanism that causes them not to spill when tipped.

Cup Style: Sippy cups come in a range of sizes that hold different amounts of liquid. Some have handles, some are hourglass shaped and some a straight. Some have grips that are supposed to be easier for babies to hold. Also, you can find sippy cups with a variety of pictures including favorite animals, characters or your baby’s name.

Other Features: Check to make sure the sippy cups you select are BPA free. If you don’t plan to hand wash them, purchase ones that are dishwasher safe. Also, some cups have flip tops or detachable lids that may be helpful on-the-go.

Stay tuned later this week for tips and tricks for transitioning to a sippy cup.

Sources: Parents, BabyCenter and Wholesome Baby Food