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Sippy Cup, Drinking from a straw


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to introducing a cup. The type of cup is not overly important, nor what time of day it is when you introduce it, nor how hold baby is. Of course the younger a baby is, the more you have to "help", but even very young babies can learn to drink from a cup (see CUP FEEDING for tiny babies).

You can start out with just a little expressed breastmilk or water (depending on baby's age) in the cup and help "guide" the cup, just allowing baby to become used to the fact that something is coming out of there. If the baby is around 4 mo, they generally show an interest in the cup, but don't have the motor skills yet to be able to handle it well. As baby grows, these motor skills will improve and baby will already be familiar with the cup, so it will only be a matter of "perfecting" it.

Between 4 and 6 months, many babies become very interested in watching mom or dad (or others) drink from a cup. Often they will "mimic" the action of drinking, and will taste or try to drink. If at this point you make the exploration/discovery fun and interesting, they will continue to want to drink from the cup. One way to do this is to fix baby's cup and pretend to take a drink out of it. If baby is interested in what you're doing, make a happy or blissful face and go "ahhhh" (like it tasted wonderful), then offer baby a drink(depending on baby's age, you may need to hold cup and guide baby). In most cases baby will try it. Once baby takes a sip (even if it's not a very good one) repeat the funny/blissful face and go "ahhhh" like baby really enjoyed it (that usually gains a big smile), and repeat process a few times. Making using the cup fun and relaxed helps baby enjoy the process a lot more.


It really is not too hard, in general, to help baby learn to drink from a straw. You can use an old fashioned, regular straw or the same but cut shorter for more control (be careful to keep the "cut" end on your finger, rather than the part baby is sucking from); or you can use any other "straw".

We used a regular straw (but cut smaller) and water, for example here:

1) Place straw in water, holding finger over the end of straw so the water that is in the end of the straw stays in the straw.

2) Offer end of straw to baby, keeping finger over opposite end to prevent liquid from coming out.

3) Babies have a natural tendency to suck and will often suck on the straw eagerly. Some tho may just hold mouth open and allow water to flow in. Be patient and keep offering, usually baby will get the idea before very long and "suck" the contents from the straw.

4) Once baby sucks on the straw, offer the cup with the straw in it in normal fashion. Keep fingers about an inch down on the straw so you can control how much of the straw baby takes in mouth.

NOTE: Please remember that regular straws and any other type that are "hard" can be a hazard to baby, so please don't let baby "run around" with a straw in a cup, and especially not while sucking from straw. The straw attached to blue cup shown in photo is very soft and less of a concern, but it is always good to offer any type straw-cups under parental supervision.


Don't be afraid to try different types of cups. Just as with bottles/nipples, different babies like different types of cups. Some babies do really well with the usual sippy cups with a spout. Others refuse the spouts but will accept a cup with the "indented" lid (like it has no lid at all), and still others prefer the infant straw-type cups or little juice-box type containers. Some babies even prefer the infant sports bottles! (tho the liquid can come out of those pretty fast, so be careful)

Once you find which type your baby prefers, it may be helpful to have all the same type of cups instead of many different ones. This can reduce any frustration on Dad or Grandma when it comes to finding the "right lid for the right cup" since all lids fit all cups!

Abby with soft straw cup & Paloma with juice box (purple monkey optional)

Copyright 2000 - 2006  Jim Yount

Send email to Paula Yount for any questions or comments about this site.

Disclaimer:  The pages contained herein are meant purely for informational purposes and every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. This information, however, is not meant to take the place of your doctor, nor should the information contained on this web site be considered specific medical advice with respect to any specific person and/or any specific condition. The author, therefore respectfully but specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk - personal or otherwise - that is, or may be, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from use or application of any of the information provided on this web site.