Sippy Cup, Drinking
from a straw
INTRODUCING A SIPPY CUP
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.
HOW CAN I GET MY BABY TO
DRINK FROM A STRAW?
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".
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.
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
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
Abby with soft straw cup & Paloma with juice box (purple monkey