You should encourage your weaning baby to drink from a cup from 6 months of age. This is the perfect time to ensure they accept the cup. Give freshly drawn filtered tap water from a trainer cup at all meals.
Breastfed babies may drink more readily from a cup than bottle-fed babies. If your baby is reluctant to drink from a cup, you need to persist in bringing it out at every meal time – it will work!
What type of cup should I use?
You have two options: a cup (that will spill!) or a sippy cup/ beaker. If you choose a beaker start off with a soft, pliable, nipple-like spout, which will feel more familiar to your baby than a hard plastic spout. If your baby refuses one type of cup, then try another. You may need to try several styles before you find one that baby likes. A good, money-saving tip is to invest in a feeding set with interchangeable spouts. These sets usually contain bottles onto which you can attach either a sippy spout or a regular nipple. A cup such as a Doidy cup can also be used with mum's help.
The Doidy cup claims, “it is an ideal aid to weaning as the natural mouth action used is the same as in breast feeding. Health professional are advising use of the Doidy cup to prevent long term health problems caused by delayed weaning and prolonged use of feeding bottles and spouted cups”.
While I do agree with the statement above this can all be prevented by removing bottle and beaker at age one. To use only a cup during the weaning stage will make it very messy indeed!
Drinking from a straw…
Offer your baby a straw. You may find that your baby will happily drink through a straw from a regular cup. The best way to help baby cope is to cut the straw down to a suitable length. Only allow your baby to use a straw under supervision – do not allow baby to walk or run with a straw in their mouth.
How much should I give my baby each day in his sippy cup?
Your baby should be getting enough liquids from breast or bottle in the first year. The sippy cup is introduced to teach your baby to use the cup so that the transition from breast or bottle is easier at one year’s of age. Your baby may be thirsty however in between feeds so offer a sippy cup of tap water.