Introducing a Sippy Cup
A part of the weaning process is introducing a cup, or a baby cup which is sometimes called a sippy cup. These cups can be introduced to your baby once they have developed a good grasp, or are good at holding objects without dropping them. When introducing a sippy cup, you merely introduce the object, allowing your child to get used to it and how it works. They can take a few sips, but having a full feeding with a sippy cup is probably best done after the six month mark. This is because before six months your baby’s sucking instinct is so strong that they are likely to suck in air along with whatever liquid is in the cup, resulting in a gassy baby.
After six months of age, you can try giving your baby a sippy cup as part of their feedings. It will take some time for them to do entire feedings with a sippy cup, and some babies cannot do it till they are around nine months old.
Sippy cups can be frustrating so be patient with your child, and guide them through their problems. Some mothers introduce a sippy cup early and start partial feedings with a sippy cup so that when their child gets older, they can do full feedings from the cup and not have to be weaned from the bottle.
In fact, if you have the time, you can breastfeed your child all the way up till they are ready for a sippy cup so that the weaning process happens only once, and your child doesn’t get attached to their bottle and need to be weaned from that at a later date.
Teaching your child to drink from a cup as soon as possible will help you in the weaning process, and it also benefits your child. When a child drinks from your breast or the bottle, liquid and the sugars in liquid can build up around your child’s teeth, causing tooth decay. Not so with a cup. Also, a sippy cup will help your child eat only till they are full. Sometimes babies overeat when they are given breasts or the bottle.
To help your child transition into a sippy cup, let them play with it. Get one that is light and that your baby can hold without your help, even if it has liquid inside. Teach your child how to hold the cup and help them practice drinking from it. Start by putting water in the cup. The sensation and newness of water will be great for your baby, and they can associate other liquids with this cup.
Next, put breast milk or formula milk in the cup. When they see that they can get their milk from this cup, they may become more pleased with it and its wonders. Introduce the sippy cup during feeding time, putting a bit of milk in it and show them how they can choose this and feed from this too.
Introducing a cup early can help your child in the weaning process. Don’t forget to give them encouragement through affection, and to teach them proper use of the cup. You can also introduce the sippy cup at the same time you introduce solids. If you baby has a feeding schedule similar to yours, they can soon join family meals, eating their baby food and drinking from their sippy cup. This will be really exciting for you and your child, and you are well on your way to successful weaning!