Teaching Your Baby to Use a Cup
Infant Card 5
MN WIC Program
- Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Bottlefeeding Your Baby
- Your Baby Knows How Much Is Enough
- Starting Solids
- Teaching Your Baby to Use a Cup
- Starting Meats and Textures
- Starting Table and Finger Foods
- Time to Stop Using the Bottle
Your baby is ready to use a cup when:
- She sits up with some support and has good head and neck control.
- She shows interest in your cup and reaches for it.
- She is at least 5 to 6 months old.
How to start:
- Start by holding the cup yourself and let your baby sip from it.
- Drink from a cup along with your baby to show her how.
- Use a small plastic cup. In the beginning, your baby may find a two-handled cup is easiest to grasp. No lid is necessary. Avoid infant cups with spill-proof lids. Using no lid helps baby to develop and learn to speak well.
- Offer your baby small amounts of breastmilk, formula or water in the cup.
- Expect a lot of spills. Keep a towel or dishcloth hand
When to start:
- At about 6 months, offer sips of breastmilk, water or formula in a cup. You need to help your baby with the cup at this age.
- Around 9 months, your baby will be able to drink well from the cup. Start to wean her from the bottle slowly.
- Around 12 months, a baby who has been slowly weaned from the bottle is usually ready to give up the bottle and drink from the cup.
- Breastfeeding mothers: When you and your baby decide to wean, do it gradually. If your baby is over 9 months old, you can begin to wean to a cup. If your baby is less than 9 months old, you may have to wean to a bottle and then to a cup.
- Weaning will be easier if you have never gotten in the habit of putting your baby in bed with a bottle.
- Hold your baby during feeding and then put her to bed. As she gets older, use a cup and then put your baby to bed.
- Try to get your baby off the bottle completely by around 12 to 14 months of age. If you wait much longer, your baby may not want to give it up.
- Wean your baby slowly. Help your baby give up one bottle or breastfeeding at a time. Begin with the feeding she is least interested in. Instead of the bottle or breast, give a cup of formula or breastmilk at that feeding every day. Do this until your baby gets used to it. This could take about a week. Then pick another feeding to use the cup.
Why wean from the bottle around 1 year of age?
- Because your baby is ready for weaning. If you wait, she may not give up the bottle as easily as now.
- Because your baby can get tooth decay if she spends too much time using a bottle or a sippy cup with a lid.
- Because the bottle can cut your baby’s appetite for foods that are needed for growing and a healthy iron level in the blood.