Are you confused about introducing your baby to cups? I don’t blame you! As a speech-language pathologist this is one of the most common questions I get asked about from my clients, family and friends.
Today I hope to ease the overwhelm and share some guidance so you can have a better understanding of when, how, what and why you’re even introducing cups in the first place!
Let’s get started!
You introduce your child to an open cup at ~6 months. This is typically the same time you introduce complimentary foods. If your little one is older than 6 months and you haven’t introduced them yet, it’s not too late!
Your baby doesn’t need water necessarily for hydration as their milk feeds are their primary source! They only need small quantities during mealtimes, no more than ~1-2 oz. However, introducing an open cup has many benefits, It…
Eeek! I know, we’re already talking bottle weaning. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bottle weaning at 12 months and aiming to completely stop the use of bottles by 18 months.
Prolonged bottle use can…
Giving your child lots of time and opportunities to practice cup drinking before making the transition will be very helpful!
You can offer an open cup during when eating meals. Make sure your child is seated in a supported position (think 90-90-90). Fill a cup with a small amount (this will help reduce the mess and all the spills!) of water, breastmilk or formula. Then, place your hands over your child’s and help guide the rim of the cup to your child’s lips, tilt it back slowly and voila!
This will not look very graceful at first and your child will need lots of support initially. It’s all part of the learning process! Remember practice, practice, practice!
My favorite open cup to introduce babies to is The Tiny Cup by EZPZ. It has a soft silicone rim and is the perfect size for them to hold!
You can probably find other “cups” around your house too! Do you have a shot glass, medicine cup, glass baby food jar, little mason jar laying around somewhere? Those all make great options to practice open cup drinking! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Using hard spouted sippy cups are not recommended. In fact, it’s best you SKIP them! Sippy cups can impact your child’s ability to keep their tongue elevated, interrupting their ability to develop a mature swallow pattern. Overuse of sippy cups can also contribute to speech delays as well.
If you’re already using sippy cups at home, it’s not the end of the world! Try to use them occasionally and introduce an open cup. You can also introduce a straw cup at this time. Your child doesn’t need to master cup drinking or be drinking independently before this time. But it will be helpful if they know how to sip & swallow from an open cup first!
Yes, I know they’re spill proof! But the Munchkin 360 does not support typical feeding development. This can cause your child to develop compensatory movements that are not associated with open cup drinking as it requires over-activation of the top lip and over-use of their jaw to support lip pressure to drink from the cup.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw the cups out! You can purchase the Munchkin Sippy and Straw Lids that fit perfectly on any 360 cup! And if you really love your 360 cups, try to use use them sparingly and offer your child an open or straw cup more frequently.
Have you introduced your child to an open or straw cup yet? I’d love to know!
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