- Bottoms up, baby, it's time to raise a cup
and drink up, or at least take a first sip
from a brand-new beverage container.
No, the breast
and bottle aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
Still, getting cracking on cup curriculum now
will give your baby options when he's thirsty,
and more importantly, learning to drink from a cup
will help him get ready for bottle weaning,
which is widely recommended at 12 months.
Never gave a bottle or tried
and baby wouldn't take the bait?
Here's your chance to graduate
to the cup and skip the bottle altogether.
Teaching your baby to drink from a cup won't be neat.
You can expect more to drip down the chin
than trickle into the mouth at first.
Your little sucker will likely be perplexed, too,
by the process of sipping and swallowing, but with patience
and practice, your baby will be a cup pro in no time.
How can you pass the cup to your new generation?
First, choose a cup for beginners.
Since your baby is in training, it makes sense to start
with a trainer cup, one that has easy-to-grip handles
that won't slip through baby's hands.
Spill-free clearly scores extra points.
You can debut with a straw sippy,
but it'll take more practice.
If your little one is always grabbing your cup,
try a spill-proof 360-style,
a rim that she can sip from on any side.
It will release the liquids
once baby's lips are pressed on it.
Again, it'll take some skills to master.
Next, choose your liquid.
Your baby might be more likely to take to the cup
like an old friend if it's filled
with an old friend, breast milk or formula.
On the other hand, water might be a winner.
Don't let baby get juiced yet.
Wait until at least the first birthday
to introduce even watered-down juice.
It's always smart for baby to sit when he sips,
but especially when he's just getting started.
The high chair is the perfect place for practice.
Let your little one take his sweet time getting to know
the cup; touch it, inspect it, even play with it.
Then, show baby what the cup is for, holding it near
your own mouth and pretending to take a sip.
That tastes good.
Finally, if baby's game,
don't push if not, hold the cup to his mouth.
Hopefully, he'll put it in his mouth himself,
like he does everything else.
If not, remove the spill-proof valve,
so that a few drops trickle in.
Pause for a swallow before offering more,
so your newbie sipper doesn't gag.
If baby reaches for the cup,
let her grab hold while you help guide it.
She wants to hold it herself?
Let her even if she can't quite figure out
what she's supposed to do with it.
Baby's signed on to sipping and now, can't get enough?
Be sippy savvy.
Round-the-clock nipping on a sippy into the toddler years
can lead to slow speech development,
and unless your little one's sipping water only,
to tooth decay, so limit sippy sipping to meal times
and snack time,
and like eating, make sure it's always done sitting down.
Don't let your baby crawl around with the sippy cup
and try not to rely on it to soothe her
in the car or stroller.
Consider, too, switching up the cup
once baby gets the hang of sipping.
Sucking from a straw requires
more complex movements of the mouth
and jaw, giving them the workout they need,
not just for drinking, but for talking.
Plus, straws send the liquid on a fast track
to being swallowed instead of letting it
pool in the mouth, meaning less risk of tooth decay.
And though spilled milk can make you cry,
give your little one plenty of chances to practice drinking
from a cup that's not spill-proof
and to sip supervised from glasses and cups of all kinds.
Here's to drinking up.