Introducing the Sippy Cup

You know your baby is growing up when the word “Sippy Cup” is a part of your day.  Yikes.

Ahhh the Sippy Cup….when to start, what to put in it, what kind of cup…so many questions!  I am breast feeding my son, so he only gets a bottle if I am away from him for any reason.  He does awesome with the bottle though, so I was hoping that introducing the sippy cup would be just as easy.

Following the advice of some of my friends I came up with the sentiment that “the earlier, the better” (kind of like with finger foods).  Of course, check with your doctor!.  I don’t plan on giving him cow’s milk until after he is 1 year old, which will most likely coincide with him weaning off of breast feeding (check out my feeding schedule to see how often he nurses).  So for now, the sippy cup really isn’t replacing anything, but is instead just a supplement meant to help him practice drinking from it.

tips for introducing the sippy cup

Tips for introducing the Sippy Cup

  • Start early.  I began giving my son the sippy cup at around 7-8 months old.  I wasn’t using it to provide any nutrition for him…just to practice.
  • Give it at meals.  I tend to go with the crowd that says to keep the sippy cup for meals (as opposed to sipping all day).  I figure that way he will get used to drinking liquid (cow’s milk later on) with a meal, and hopefully will be more apt to finish it at that time (fingers crossed).  Obviously, though I will let him have water in between meals, especially on hot summer days.
  • Use 2 handles.  It seems that the sippy cups that have 2 handles on them work better for the little ones’ first try than the ones without any handles.
  • Start with water.  I chose to use the baby drinking water that I found at my grocery store.  From what I’ve been reading, letting babies sip on juice isn’t that great of a habit to start because of the extra sugar.  Read about that here.  So for now, water it is.  But seriously, it is the SMALLEST possible amount (and I only give it 2-3 times/week).  Too much water for infants under 12 months can be harmful (read about it here).  Nursing and formula really is all the liquid that they need.
  • Remove the stopper.  Yes, the whole point of the sippy cup is that the stopper inside restricts the flow unless your baby is sucking.  Therefore preventing spills and oh so fun messes.  BUT for a baby who’s just learning if you remove the stopper than there is instant gratification for tipping the cup up when the water comes out easily.  If they are in their high chair, the wetness is contained, but yes things get messy.
  • Help your baby tip it up.  When I started using the sippy cup for my son, he would hold it and put the right part in his mouth (it’s like they instinctively know…crazy right?), but I would then say “tip it up” and move his arms up so that the cup tipped up and (because the stopper was out) water would go into his mouth.  Just be sure to not hold it up too long so that tons doesn’t pour into their mouth (there have been a few gagging spells for sure!).
  • Give it once and a while.  I chose not to give it to him at every meal every day.  We practiced maybe 2-3 times each week.  Because he wasn’t getting it all the time, it was a pretty novel thing when he got his hands on it!

It took maybe about 1-1.5 months for my little guy to get the hang of it.  Once he started tipping it up on his own I put the stopper in and he quickly got the idea that he has to suck to get something out.

My hope is that after he turns one and starts to wean off of nursing that he will accept cow’s milk in his sippy!  Here’s hoping!

What are your tips for starting the sippy?

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