Introducing cups to your child can really feel overwhelming and time consuming. Fortuitously when you’ve got a plan and persistently follow it, many infants decide up the talent rapidly.
There are actually two components to transitioning to a cup:
- Consuming abilities: easy methods to drink from a cup, together with an open cup and straw cup
- Transitioning from bottles or breastfeeds to strong meals and liquids in a cup (mainly consuming and ingesting like an enormous child!)
A small reminder: studying to drink from a cup is a talent, and like all different abilities, this can take time and apply to develop. Keep calm, supportive, and affected person as your child learns.
What age ought to a baby drink from an open cup?
You can begin introducing your child to a cup whereas introducing solids, sometimes round 6 months outdated. Your child ought to present all the standard readiness indicators for transitioning to solids to begin cup ingesting apply. In case your child is older than 6 months and taking solids, we suggest you begin now. 6- to 12-month-old infants are involved in studying and decide up new desk abilities rapidly, whereas it may be more difficult to introduce these abilities to a toddler who could be very competent and assured of their abilities to drink from a bottle.
The objective within the 6- to 12-month age vary is to apply the abilities of cup ingesting—to not substitute the breast or bottle. Beginning open cup apply early (ideally round 6 months of age) permits your child loads of low-pressure time to hone cup abilities earlier than transitioning off bottles or breastfeeds. In case you’ve missed this window and your child is now 12 months or older, all shouldn’t be misplaced! Your 12+-month-old nonetheless has time to be taught this talent!
Which cup ought to I exploit for my child?
There are countless prospects for cups, however there are solely two cups you really want:
- Open cup
- Straw cup
Like most feeding therapists and swallowing specialists, we strongly suggest utilizing open cups and straw cups somewhat than sippy or 360 cups. Why? As a result of ingesting from an open cup or a straw are lifelong abilities—your child will use each of those abilities in a while. On the contrary, sippy cups and 360 cups are just for infants/toddlers, so your child will be taught a talent that will likely be discarded after just a few months. And regardless of promoting claims, each sippy cups and 360 cups encourage a manner of ingesting that’s not perfect to your child’s oral-motor abilities improvement. Word: In case you’ve been utilizing sippy or 360 cups and at the moment are second-guessing your self, please don’t. Most infants are adaptable and can rapidly transfer on to new abilities. They won’t be harmed in case you proceed to make use of these cups often—extra on this beneath.
Open cup vs. straw cup
Excellent news! There’s no have to resolve between an open cup and straw cup—we suggest introducing each straight away. And begin with whichever—there’s no proper order! Whereas some professionals suggest a selected order, there isn’t a analysis to assist the advantages of introducing an open cup first after which straws or vice versa. In case your child is 6 months outdated, we suggest beginning with each, however at completely different meals (i.e., an open cup at breakfast and a straw cup on the subsequent meal). In case your child appears to battle with each abilities after just a few weeks, select which cup they like most and keep it up till your child is doing fairly properly, then reintroduce the opposite.
When selecting an open cup, we suggest utilizing a small cup that’s straightforward for child fingers to carry. Because you’ll be coping with many, many spills, search for a cup that holds not more than 1-3 ounces. A small cup additionally makes it much less doubtless that your child will flood themselves with liquid. There are various cups available on the market that match this description, however a shot glass or small glass yogurt cup will just do high-quality, too!
Earlier than selecting a straw cup, we suggest first educating your child the abilities of utilizing a straw by itself, which we’ll define beneath. As soon as your child has the essential concept of the straw itself, you possibly can select any straw cup you like, understanding your child can use it.
For extra on cups and straws, watch our video right here.
I nonetheless want a sippy cup. What’s the most effective sippy cup for my child?
There are various sippy cups available on the market—comfortable spouts, agency spouts, with handles, or with out handles. However, as feeding specialists, we’ve got to reiterate that we don’t love sippy cups and as a substitute suggest you give attention to straw cups when on-the-go or in want of a mess-free meal. Why? Sippy cups encourage your child to make use of their tongue in a manner that’s not perfect for cup or straw ingesting. Plus, as quickly as your child masters a sippy cup, it’s time to beat extra mature cup abilities, which provides an pointless step (and expense) to the method.
Now, earlier than you tear by way of your kitchen and trash your sippy cups or fear you’ve irreparably broken your little one, we simply need to level out that utilizing a sippy cup is not going to injury your little one and certain have zero noticeable affect. In truth, one in every of our employees feeding therapists often used sippy cups with each of her youngsters as a result of she already had them they usually had been spill-proof. Whereas sippy cups is probably not perfect for oral motor talent improvement, infants are extremely versatile and resilient.
Backside line: in case you’re simply beginning out, skip the sippy cups. In case you’re set on utilizing a sippy cup, we recommend a comfortable spout over a tough spout as a result of they’re extra much like a big straw and won’t pin your child’s tongue down fairly as a lot as a tough spout. And in case you’re already utilizing a tough spout sippy cup and your child loves it, don’t overthink it. Simply think about working towards a straw or open cup over the following few months to start transitioning away from the sippy.
What about cups with handles, or a weighted straw, or a cut-out or angled rim, or…
Utterly elective! Some infants take very well to a few of these options, however they’re completely a private choice. That mentioned, we strongly suggest in opposition to utilizing just one sort of cup, particularly one with distinct options that aren’t widespread in grownup cups (equivalent to two handles on the perimeters). Your child should be taught to make use of an open cup with out handles or an angled or cut-out rim finally. We don’t suggest mother and father search out these options, however if you’re utilizing one in every of these and your child likes it, there’s no hurt executed. Simply make certain your child additionally will get a lot of publicity to different kinds of cups alongside the way in which.
How to show child to drink from an open cup
Step 1: Put a small quantity of breast milk, formulation, or water* (1-2 oz at most) in a cup. Present your child the way it’s executed by bringing the open cup to the desk at mealtime with 1-2 oz of breast milk, formulation, or water in it.
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Step 2: Sit down, smile at your child to catch their consideration, after which carry the cup to your mouth to take a small sip. (You need to use the identical cup if you’re snug with that or two cups, one for you and one for child. Simply be sure you are ingesting out of the identical trying cup.)
Step 3: Provide the cup to your child, holding it in entrance of them and letting your child attain out. Don’t carry it to their lips straight away. Enable them to succeed in out and seize it, after which help in getting it to their mouth.
The general concept is to have your child actively engaged, somewhat than sitting again when you pour liquid into their open mouth. You’ll be able to assist your child stabilize the cup on their decrease lip and tilt it simply sufficient to carry the liquid into their mouth. You may see your child lick the liquid, spill it, and even cough and sputter a bit. That is regular. As your child learns, there will likely be many errors earlier than they get it proper.
In case your child could be very set on holding the cup alone, you possibly can set it down and let your child strive independently. Simply be prepared with a serviette when your child inevitably tilts the cup again too far and pours water throughout themselves! When this occurs, simply say, “Oops! Slower next time.” You’ll be able to add a tiny bit extra water and let your child strive once more. If it spills once more, no have to refill at that meal; simply set the cup apart and wait till the following meal. Proceed to introduce the cup on this manner at every meal (or at the least day by day) to assist your child be taught. You could discover that your child does finest in case you provide the cup after consuming a bit or probably the alternative—that your child must apply with the cup first after which desires to eat solids. There isn’t one proper option to do it. Look ahead to and reply to your child’s cues and preferences.
As your child will get extra coordinated, you can begin to set the open cup on the desk at meals and permit your child to select it up and drink independently. In case your child playfully dumps the contents, don’t substitute it at that meal and calmly allow them to know, “Uh-oh! Your water is all gone now.” In fact, in case your child by accident spilled their cup, use your judgment about providing extra—simply keep away from beginning a sport of “I spill my cup and my parent fills it back up!”
*Earlier than 12 months outdated, we are not looking for a child to replenish on water as a substitute of extra nutritious formulation or breast milk. Due to this fact, if you’re utilizing water for cup apply, we suggest a really small quantity of water (1-2 oz at most) solely for working towards the abilities of cup ingesting.
How to show child to drink from a straw
You’ll be able to educate your child to drink from a straw beginning at 6 months outdated. You may be shocked to search out that your child “gets it” instantly. That is widespread as a result of 6-month-olds have a powerful sucking reflex and may use that sample efficiently on a straw. Thus, some mother and father discover extra success with getting straw ingesting up and operating first, then introducing the open cup.
In case your child doesn’t instantly catch on to the straw, or in case you’re introducing the straw to a child who’s 8 months or older, you could want to show them to shut their lips and suck. There are two essential methods to show this, which we’ll define beneath.
Step 1: Utilizing a straw (a normal plastic restaurant straw will do), use your finger to lure a *small* quantity of liquid within the backside.
Step 2: Maintain it out in the direction of your child and wait to your child to open their mouth to just accept it.
Step 3: When child accepts the straw of their mouth, take your finger off the highest and permit the liquid to pour into their mouth. This normally helps your child perceive to shut their lips, and that liquid comes out of the straw.
Follow this just a few instances so long as your child is , put the straw again into the cup, and provide it to your child. In case your child pushes it away or simply desires to seize and play with the straw, inform them you’ll strive once more later and put the straw away till the following meal. Normally, inside just a few tries, your child will determine easy methods to use the straw.
Straw coach methodology
There are just a few cups on the market that truly assist carry the liquid up the straw. The “Mr. Juice Bear” remedy cup, or honey bear cup is made simply to show straw ingesting. Though not made for this function, the take and toss straw cup has related performance and is cheaper. These cups have a really quick shelf life as a result of your child mainly outgrows it as quickly because it does its job—which is to show your child easy methods to drink from a straw! (Infants may also catch on that they will squeeze it and use it like a hearth hose!) However, we point out it as a result of it’s actually efficient for infants who’re fighting the straw. If that is your child and the pipette methodology didn’t work, right here’s how one can make use of straw coach cups like Mr. Juice Bear or a take and toss straw cup:
Step 1: Carry the straw coach with water, breast milk, or formulation to the desk and provide the straw to your child by holding it in entrance of their mouth. Usually infants who could have already determined that they hate straw cups will fortunately settle for this cute little bear! The take and toss cups are brightly coloured and enjoyable as properly.
Step 2: Let your child open their mouth and lean in to just accept the straw, then give somewhat squeeze to the cup, which is able to specific a small quantity of the liquid into your child’s mouth. Most infants will reply by instantly sealing their lips to swallow, which helps them be taught to shut their lips across the straw.
After working towards like this a number of instances, you possibly can provide the straw coach to your child however don’t squeeze. Wait and see in the event that they attempt to get the liquid out on their very own by sucking. It might take a number of introductions, however as soon as they perceive easy methods to persistently use the straw and now not want the squeeze function, you possibly can transition to different straw cups to generalize the talent to all straws.
What to do if child is resistant or fighting cup ingesting
Child not involved in cup ingesting
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Wait it out. In case your child is 6-8 months outdated and never involved in cup ingesting, however in any other case involved in meals and never upset by the cup, merely carry the cup to every meal and present your child the way it’s executed. Give your child time to indicate curiosity and take a look at on their very own.
Chase the why. In case your child is older than 8 months and/or beginning to present outright refusal or frustration, proceed to remain calm and unruffled. Take a minute to ask your self, “why?” Does your child need to do it independently and also you’re making an attempt to assist? Is your child simply utterly baffled about what to do with the cup or straw? Enable your reply to information your assist. For instance, in case your child is impartial, you could must be hands-off, even when meaning your child spills water again and again. Put solely a small quantity within the cup, carry a towel to the desk, and stay calm. Modify the suggestions above based mostly on what you believe you studied may be contributing to the refusal.
Starvation might be motivating. Make certain your child has at the least a little bit of starvation motivation on the meal by separating out breast or bottle-feeds from desk feeds by at the least 60 minutes. In case your child is 9+ months outdated, you could separate them much more (by 2-3 hours) to see if this helps.
Be the instance. Mannequin the conduct by ingesting from the identical cup at mealtimes and sometimes providing the cup to your child by holding it out to them after you’re taking a drink. Keep calm and assured that your child will be taught this with time. Attempt water at some meals and breast milk or formulation at different meals to see if one of many flavors is extra attractive. In case your child is struggling, persist with one sort of cup for a number of days or even weeks at a time, somewhat than switching backwards and forwards between straw and open cups. However, in case you discover your child crying on the sight of the cup or instantly arching and pushing the cup away, take a break for just a few days, then strive once more with a distinct sort of cup.
Change the atmosphere. If a child is actively refusing to strive ingesting with a straw cup or open cup at meals, strive altering the atmosphere. Exterior of a meal, put together an open cup or straw cup with water. Choose up your child and work together for a second, capturing their consideration, then casually stroll over to the cup, decide it up, and begin ingesting. After just a few sips, smile huge at your child and make a humorous noise or foolish face to additional interact your child. Don’t provide the cup at first. Proceed this for a minute or so till your child tries to succeed in out and seize your cup; if this doesn’t occur, maintain the cup near your child and await them to lean ahead, put their mouth on it, or attain out for it. In that case, assist them take a drink or hand them the cup and allow them to strive it. Usually, infants are far more open to making an attempt a cup outdoors of the traditional mealtime atmosphere.
Get messy. Lastly, strive sitting on a blanket outdoors or someplace you received’t thoughts spills. Carry just a few cups and a small pitcher of water or water bottle to the blanket and set them in entrance of your child. In the event that they don’t naturally interact, decide up the pitcher or water bottle and present your child easy methods to pour the water right into a cup and take a drink. Then, sit again and let your child strive. As we talked about above, typically this low-pressure sort of play will trigger probably the most resistant infants to have interaction, and as soon as they’re fortunately taking part in, they’re extra more likely to imitate you and take a look at ingesting from the cup.
Child pours the cup throughout themselves and/or coughs or chokes steadily
In case your child steadily spills, coughs, and/or chokes on the liquid as a result of they’re pouring it too quick, first strive providing a a lot smaller quantity within the cup (like ½ oz). You need simply sufficient that in the event that they pour all of it of their mouth, it received’t overwhelm them! In case your child is already too upset and refuses the open cup, strive a straw cup for some time, then strive once more with the open cup in just a few days or week. If this nonetheless doesn’t resolve your difficulty, strive a small quantity of a thicker texture (equivalent to a stage one puree, smoothie, or kefir) within the cup to decelerate the movement. This will enhance your child’s probabilities of success and encourage your child to keep it up and construct their abilities.
Child’s lips received’t shut round straw
When you have tried the pipette methodology and the honey bear methodology and your child nonetheless received’t shut their lips across the straw, strive modeling “fish lips” and a sucking sound your self. Drink from the straw your self, present the “fish lips” afterwards, after which hand the straw cup to your child.
Child solely bites the straw
Biting the straw is a really developmentally regular response! They’re in search of jaw stability. As a caregiver, we suggest speaking to them, displaying them easy methods to chunk softly on meals with out leaving tooth tracks, present them the way you chunk on the straw then let go and simply use lips. Use a agency straw that received’t collapse. We’d additionally suggest working towards with the pipette methodology so that they really feel liquid popping out of the straw.
Child received’t maintain their cup
In case your child received’t maintain the cup with out your assist or solely desires you to do it, encourage your child to hitch in by holding the cup in entrance of them and wait. When your child leans in and places their mouth on the cup, use one in every of your fingers to information their fingers onto the cup, then assist tilt the cup. After working towards like this for a number of days, your child ought to start reaching for the cup as you introduce it. As soon as your child begins to do that, take away your fingers so your child is holding the cup alone. You need to be capable of progress from right here to only handing your child the cup after which setting the cup down on the desk so your child has to select it up independently.
5 ideas for serving to toddlers drink water (12 months+)
- Let your toddler decide a particular water bottle that they get to replenish every morning. Take a particular journey to the shop and make it an enormous deal for them to decide on their new bottle.
- Make it a behavior explicitly, so that they be taught to drink on their very own. When out and about, each of you’re taking 5 sips of water each hour. Do it as a group, make it enjoyable (rely out loud, make up a music, and many others.)
- Have water obtainable with each meal and snack.
- Make the water extra enjoyable and fascinating. Add sliced fruit or cucumbers.
- Final resort: use a sticker or reward system for ending a water bottle. Don’t reward with meals! Reward with enjoyable actions like additional time on the park, or a household film, and many others.
When to hunt assist
In case you’ve been making an attempt for fairly a while or if it appears one thing is simply off, it’s time to speak to your pediatrician or well being skilled. Positively seek the advice of your physician if:
- You and your child have been making an attempt with cups for a number of months with out success
- Your child shouldn’t be sustaining their weight once you cut back breast or bottle-feeds
- Your child shouldn’t be growing strong meals consumption or not taking water or milk in a cup regardless of lowering breast or bottle-feeds
- Your little one is older than 15 months
We suggest you search assist from an occupational therapist or speech therapist who has a specialty in feeding, consuming, and swallowing to assist your child be taught this talent.
Persistence and apply
Studying to drink from a cup takes loads of apply and loads of repetition. Begin early (6 months) in case you can so you might have an extended, stress-free runway to your child to get the talent down pat. Whereas it might take a number of months to grasp, you’ll be saying “cheers” along with your cups quickly sufficient.
Kary Rappaport, OTR/L, MS, SCFES, IBCLC
Kimberly Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT