The first months of your baby’s life are usually not too exciting. Well, I mean, this period is not challenging if we exclude your lack of sleep, baby sleep, breastfeeding (or using formula), bathing a baby, changing diapers, and so on. When these first five or six months pass (believe it or not, they pass very quickly), it’s time to start to think about introducing a bottle into your baby’s life.
If you are an employed mother, it will be the issue that will impose itself. If you don’t have a job or you are a working-from-home mom, it would be a good idea to breastfeed your baby at least until her first birthday. In any case, you should think about using sippy cups. Opinions about them are controversial, but the fact is that they are a good choice when it’s necessary to make a gradual and smooth transition from nursing to using a regular cup.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Sippy Cup?
- When Should You Introduce a Sippy Cup?
- The Best Ways to Transition to a Sippy Cup
- How to Teach a Baby to Use a Sippy Cup?
- How Much Liquid Should You Give Your Baby Each Day in Her Sippy Cup?
- What Should You Do if Your Baby Refuses the Sippy Cup?
- What Should You Avoid?
- Safety Concerns You Should be Aware of
- Learn from What the Sippy Cup Consists of
- Choose the Best Spout for Your Baby
- Moms Recommend – the Best Sippy Cups for Babies
What Is a Sippy Cup?
A sippy cup is a plastic cup with a spout which helps your baby to drink without spilling. There are models with different types of spouts and with or without handles. They are efficient and reliable and can help your baby to learn how to use cups in the future. They also make improving her ‘hand-to-mouth’ coordination easier because your baby has the primary motor skills to use a cup but still can’t drink without spilling.
One of the main reasons to introduce a sippy cup in your baby’s life is prevention. The American Dental Association recommends it as a great choice to stop tooth decay. Also, a sippy cup is a useful thing which will give your little one independence and save you from cleaning.
When Should You Introduce a Sippy Cup?
Many young women, especially those who have become mothers for the first time, don’t know when the right time to introduce sippy cups to their breastfed babies is. The truth is that you should try to encourage your baby to use this cup when you believe she is ready.
There are no exact rules about using sippy cups. Experts think that you should get your baby used to it up to nine months. Some babies start to use a sippy as early as five to six months, but the others don’t enjoy using it even until after the first birthday. If your baby is not ready for a sippy, you can try again later to give her time to become comfortable with it.
Be prepared that your baby can find fun to throw cups for a while, but by nine months she will probably start to drink from it. Try to avoid using a sippy cup after maximum 24 months of age. Some experts recommend moms to reject it even earlier.
The Best Ways to Transition to a Sippy Cup
As I’ve already said, there are no rules when a baby should start to use a sippy cup. To make a transition from bottle to it more comfortable for your little one, you should begin as early as possible. Many parents wait around twelve months to give their babies sippy cups, but it’s OK starting earlier. In all circumstances, your baby needs time to accept a cup.
Many babies enjoy sippy cups immediately, but the other ones take their time to get used to them. Some babies refuse to use them at all. In any way, you should start to introduce it to your baby gradually and at least one month before you want her to use sippy on regular bases. I will give you some basic tips how to introduce a sippy cup and make a transition to it as effortless as possible.
1 – Allow your baby to play with a sippy. Even though you want to restrict ‘sippy cup time’, you should keep offering it during mealtimes. It’s the best way for a baby to get familiar with her new ‘toy’.
2 – Try to give a baby different liquids. You should offer breast milk to her in the beginning, water if your child is older than six months, and juice if she is over twelve months of age. Speaking of juice, it would be wise to dilute it with water. That way you will reduce the concentration of sugar in a liquid you choose.
3 – If you try to find the best weaning method and avoid turning every night into a nightmare, try to gradually cut back the breastfeeding or reduce it at bedtime only. That way you will give your baby a chance to get used to the new method of feeding.
4 – Change up a baby’s bedtime bottle routine. Many babies like using their bottles during their bedtime routine. It’s OK using a sippy cup before bedtime, but pay attention to brushing baby’s teeth. You don’t want to face with baby’s tooth decay because of too much sugar in milk and juice.
5 – Avoid giving your baby a bottle to keep it in her crib. There is no need for the baby to hold the bottle during the night. If she wakes up and asks to drink, you can give her a drink in her sippy cup.
How to Teach a Baby to Use a Sippy Cup?
Let me tell you something; no one baby knows how to use a sippy cup because drinking from it needs practice like everything else. You need to teach and encourage her.
1 – In the beginning, try to offer a sippy with a soft spout. It will be more familiar to the baby than a hard plastic one. There are excellent breast-like sippy cups you can buy. Make little effort and discover the one that best suits your baby.
2 – Maybe it is a good idea to start with breast milk in a sippy cup, but keep in mind that baby might refuse to bother with a sippy if it’s too heavy, for example.
3 – You will probably need to show her what to do. Some mothers use the other sippy cup and show their babies how to use it. Let baby play with it even though she doesn’t drink from it. Playing with her sippy, she will eventually figure out how to use it.
4 – You need to have patience. Sippy cups are pretty inexpensive, so you can buy different models and let a baby test a few until she picks out one which suits her best. The worst thing for you is to stuck with ten identical sippy cups and find out your baby hates this particular type.
If you wonder how to convince a baby to use a sippy cup, I will remind you that inside the cup there is the delicious milk that your baby loves. It’s logical that she will find a way to get that content out.
How Much Liquid Should You Give Your Baby Each Day in Her Sippy Cup?
You can use sippy cups for breastfeeding babies older than six months each day. Try to start with about an ounce of fluid. After that, you can use a sippy to give her a half of portion of breast milk she usually gets. The other half she can still get by breastfeeding. Only avoid giving a baby cow’s milk before her first birthday.
Also, the juice is entirely unnecessary for both bottle-fed and breastfed infants during the first six months of their life. After six months, you can introduce a sippy cup for your breastfed baby if she is thirsty between feedings. There is no need to give water in sippy cups to younger babies.
When you start to give your 1-years-old baby to drink whole milk using a sippy, don’t give her more than 32 ounces of milk at once. Also, a half cup of juice is more than enough for a baby per day. Otherwise, there is a possibility of spoiling her main meal.
What Should You Do if Your Baby Refuses the Sippy Cup?
There are no logical reasons why some babies reject sippy cups. They prefer going straight to a regular cup. If you believe that it’s easier and cleaner for you if your baby uses a sippy cup first, you can try with some well-known tactics.
1 – Before you give the sippy cup to your baby, try to immerse its spout into breast milk.
2 – Take a bottle nipple off the bottle and put it in baby’s mouth. After she starts suckling, merely replace the nipple with the sippy spout.
3 – You can always substitute the sippy cup for the bottle you usually use.
4 – Cut the amount of milk in the feed bottle. After a baby drinks all milk from the bottle, give her the other half of milk in the sippy cup. Try to hold her as you used to during her bottle-feeding.
5 – Try with other liquids. Some babies prefer drinking water or juice from a sippy cup but refuse to drink breast milk from it.
6 – Make an experiment! There are a bunch of different sippy cups on the market. For a start, experiment with cheaper versions. Buy a few different ones and discover one your baby likes. Once she makes her mind, just buy a desirable version of the same cup. Be patient, and you will find the right one for your baby, don’t worry.
What Should You Avoid?
It seems that using a sippy cup is not too complicated, but there are things you should pay attention to when you decide to offer it to your baby. The sippy cup is not a magic answer, and sometimes it is only one more ‘toy’ for a baby to replace the bottle.
1- Use a sippy cup wisely and don’t let a baby take it to bed because all that sugar from milk and juice can cause tooth decay.
2 – Avoid letting your baby goes around with a sippy cup in her hand for hours and using it as a pacifier. You should limit milk and juice to meal time. Meanwhile, you can give your child water in her sippy cup when she is thirsty.
3 – Take care of cleaning the sippy cup, especially of a plastic stopper, between uses. You would like to avoid growth of mold and bacteria in your baby’s sippy, believe me.
4 – It is usually more acceptable using a sippy instead of a bottle. Well, if you use it correctly, it will be less damaging to baby’s teeth. But, generally, avoid using these cups for too long. You should try to switch to a regular cup as soon as your baby learns to handle a sippy cup.
Safety Concerns You Should be Aware of
Be aware that even though the most children outgrow sippy caps very easy, some of them can’t spontaneously discontinue this habit. They will need your help in eliminating it. There are recommendations that we should teach our children to start to drink from regular cups as soon as possible after child first birthday. Once children master drinking from a sippy cup, you can teach her to use a regular cup.
Overuse of a sippy can cause various problems including dental caries and changing the position of the teeth and the tongue. Also, prolonged sippy cups usage is associated with a few negative health effects including obesity, picky eating, and even ear infections.
Have you ever heard of Oral Myofunctional Disorder? It is drawback which can appear to young children who uses a sippy cup for too long. The symptoms of this drawback can include the abnormal thumb, tongue, and lip, and additional speech difficulties, problems with swallowing, and mouth-opening. It also causes abnormal habit patterns and disruption of dental development.
You know that your little one is still unstable on her feet. There is a possibility to fall under any circumstances. If your dearest baby has a sippy cup in her hand, there is the likelihood that it can hurt her. Therefore avoid letting your toddler walking around with her sippy. It’s a certain way to prevent hurting her mouths and face with the spout.
There is one more serious problem. Before 2012, baby bottles’ plastics were made of the harmful chemical BPA (bisphenol A). Fortunately, it is banned now, but you should pay attention to damaged and scratched plastic cups. They are more likely to leach chemicals or harbor bacteria. The sad truth is that some BPA-free cups can leach high amounts of synthetic hormones. Honestly, I prefer using glass cups and highly recommend them.
Learn from What the Sippy Cup Consists of
Don’t get fooled; sippy cups can look differently depending on the design but basically, all of them have very similar parts.
– A spout is a part where a baby suckles the liquid from the cup.
– A lid is very often a part of the spout, and it’s in the top of a sippy cup.
– A valve is a part which makes cups spill-proof and prevents the release of liquid when the child doesn’t use a cup.
– A cup is the main part where the liquid is held.
– Handles are not a mandatory part of a sippy cup. Some of them have handles, and the others don’t. Also, some handles can be removable, which make them more convenient.
Choose the Best Spout for Your Baby
The most of sippy cups are the same. Actually, the main difference between them is in the spout. I want to introduce you to various choices of sippy caps. Which one you will buy depends on your baby.
1 – Silicone spout is sippy-shaped and basically wide. It is usually made out of the same material as most bottle nipples which make them very flexible. They are an excellent choice for bottle-fed babies who refuse to give up the bottle and for babies who don’t want to accept hard spout.
Avoid this type of spouts if you have an older toddler or a baby with teeth. They will chew the silicone spouts and damage it very quickly.
2 – Soft spout is made of soft plastic, but it’s not fully pliable and flexible like silicon spouts.
They are the best choice for younger babies and breastfed babies who are five months old, for babies who use a sippy cup for the first time and babies with teeth. This kind of spouts is softer and more comfortable for your kiddo’s teeth.
They are not ideal for babies who like chewing the spout, for toddlers, and for preschoolers who still use sippy cups.
3 – Hard spout made of hard plastic are excellent for preschoolers and toddlers and for babies who use the sippy regularly.
Avoid hard spouts if your baby is too young. Also, it is not the right choice for a baby who tries to use the sippy cup for the first time.
4 – No spout. Making this choice helps a baby to develop the muscle control and skills which she will need when she starts to use a regular cup. This choice is suitable for babies of any age.
5 – Silicone straw is a replacement for a spout. Don’t worry! They are also spill-proof because they have a valve. With them, you will make a perfect choice, especially if you look for the best sippy cup to transition from breastfeeding. It is also best sippy for a six-month-old breastfed baby, and for a baby who likes to suck but have to suckle harder. You should consider them in a case when your baby refuses regular sippy cups.
Silicone straw is definitely not an ideal choice for first-time sippy cup introduction, and you should avoid them if your baby is still too young.
Moms Recommend – the Best Sippy Cups for Babies
When it the time to choose the best sippy cup for my daughter came, I asked other moms for an opinion. Also, I did extensive research on the Net. I will give you my selection of the best sippies, but you can explore by yourself. Feel free to fill my list.
If you ask me, the best sippy cups are made of glass, but you can buy some really good plastic ones with a handle on each side and a wide base too.
Some cups are brazenly expensive; some may be made of dangerous plastic. You have heard of at least one moms’ horror story, right? Calm down, I have already told you that these sippies made of harmful chemical BPA are forbidden. Besides, I can recommend some really high-quality ones to you.
Maybe the best first sippy cup for a breastfed baby is ‘MAM Trainer’. Also, moms like using ‘Munchkin Alphabet’ for milk. For a transition period, many moms recommend ‘Philips Avent My Natural Trainer Cup’. It seems that there is no better on the market.
If you need a sippy cup for six-month-olds, there is a ‘momma Ideal’. On the other hand, ‘Munchkin Miracle 360’ is better for toddlers. You can also choose well insulated and very fun ‘Munchkin Hello Kitty’ or ‘Thermos Foogo’.
If you decide to try sippy cups with a straw, try ‘NuSpin Kids Zoomi Straw’. The experience of other moms says that they are outstanding. If you ask me, I recommend you ‘Green Sprouts Glass Sip and Straw Cup’, the best glass sippy cup ever, and an excellent organic sippy cup – ‘Klean Kanteen’.
In the end, I have one warning for you. Be careful and remember the case of Tommee Tippee’s sippies. Almost two years ago one father discovered that these sippy cups contain mold inside. The CPSC reacted immediately and recalled nearly 3.1 million of them including ‘Insulated Swiggle/Sippee tumblers’, ‘Trainer Sippee cup’, the ‘First Sips Transition cup’, and ‘Sportee bottles’. If you have one of them from an elderly child, stop using it immediately. You can contact the parent company Mayborn USA and ask them to replace it.