With a market flooded with sippy cups, weighted cups and straw cups, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when choosing your baby’s first cup. But your baby doesn’t need anything to start his sipping journey except a small open cup.
It may seem counterintuitive, but an open cup is the best choice to support your baby’s oral development and establish good feeding habits. Speech pathologists recommend it since they help your baby develop the muscles in the mouth that support speech development.
Here’s why we’ve included an open cup in our Observe With Me box:
We based this decision on research but also on listening to the frequently asked questions from our community. Here are our answers to a few of your most common questions:
I need to buy an extra cup - what do I look for?
Look for something with a soft rim and something small enough for your baby to hold. Although your baby will have better control using a small cup with both hands, inevitably, he might accidentally hit himself on the lips as he practices bringing the cup to his mouth.
How do I teach my baby to use an open cup?
Start by adding some breastmilk or formula to the cup. Your baby will be excited to taste something they are familiar with. Add a small amount of liquid to keep the mess to a minimum, but fill the cup enough, so your baby doesn’t have to arch his neck to take a sip.
You will also need to guide the cup to your baby’s mouth at first. Gently place your hands over theirs and help bring it up to their mouth slowly.
How much should my baby drink?
A typical baby should drink up to one cup of water a day with his meals. This does not include formula or breastmilk at this stage, and water should not replace the nutritious formula or breast milk feeds.
If you’re outdoors a lot or your baby is feeling hot, aim to get closer to the one cup recommendation, but your baby probably won’t want that much every day.
What can my baby drink?
Between 6 - 12 months, the recommendation is to avoid sugary drinks (including fruit juice) and whole milk or milk substitutes. Your baby only needs additional water with meal times to aid his digestion, help him get used to using a cup and keep him well hydrated now that he is moving around more.
Can I still let my baby use a straw?
Yes, drinking from a straw is the second-best option for your baby. To help your baby develop the skills needed for each, try to use them at different mealtimes, e.g., an open cup during breakfast but a straw cup for lunch. If this seems to confuse your baby, start with the one before introducing the other a week or two later.
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