Getting your child from the milk bottle stage to an independent cup drinker is more challenging than it looks. Apart from patience, you’ll need to consider how your baby will respond to the change. One thing is for sure, though: you don’t want to frazzle them by just handing them a regular cup one day.
Development takes time. To help your baby ease into it, you can gradually lead them there, and the way to do it is to use different types of sippy cups at different stages of development.
Let Ashtonbee introduce you to the types of sippy cups and guide you on how to help your baby grow fast as a cup drinker.
Types of Sippy Cups
Our typical idea of a sippy cup is made of hard plastic, covered with a lid that has a small spout sticking out. But that’s only one of several sippy cups, and that cup is used during a certain stage.
In fact, there are many sippy cups out there. Each is more appropriate to use at a certain stage of your baby’s oral development.
This type of sippy cup is usually made of silicone. It almost replicates the sensation of the nipple spout found in baby bottles, except this one has a larger opening and a flat shape.
This is the perfect spill-proof sippy cup for babies to use if you’re transitioning them from a milk bottle.
Once your little one has become accustomed to the soft spout, you can switch to a hard spout. This type of sippy cup has a spout made of hard plastic and is built to train your baby to go easy on the sucking and the biting.
Hard spout, spill-proof sippy cups must be made of toxin-free materials so your baby is safe from harmful chemicals.
After they become used to the hard spout, you can transition them to the straw cup in preparation for more developed drinking. The straw cup has a silicone straw built-in the spill-proof cup. It’s thinner and lighter and is meant to encourage refined sipping.
Straw cups help your child take in more liquids without the risk of overwhelming them. The narrow opening of the straw allows them to regulate their liquid intake into frequent but small sips. This keeps them well-hydrated while also training them for open-cup drinking.
An open cup is one of those spill-proof sippy cups with a top cover. When your little one tilts the cup to drink, the top cover opens and lets the liquid out in conservative quantities. This prevents abrupt liquid spills that may cause choking or a mess.
This is the final training tool your baby will use before switching to a regular cup. This spill-proof cup replicates the whole drinking activity from a cup, but with less risk.
Is Your Baby Ready for a Regular Cup?
A regular cup is the one you have in your dish rack. It’s open and has an exposed rim. This is the final stage in your baby’s oral training to become a child able to drink liquid independently.
This can be intimidating for any parent. That’s because there are a lot of things that can go wrong, especially when you introduce a regular cup too early. So how do you get the timing right? First, you can check for these readiness signals.
They’ve Learned How To Sit or Crawl
The first sight your little one is now ready to drink from a regular cup is when they can already sit themselves up or crawl across the floor. That means they have already built the muscles to handle drinking from a regular cup.
You still need to be cautious. This isn’t the only sign you need to see before you give your child a regular cup. If anything, this only indicates that they’re ready for the sippy cups mentioned above.
They’ve Learned How To Put Things in Their Mouths
Try leaving the baby bottle in the crib and observing your baby. If they can pick it up and put the spout in their mouth, that’s an indication that you can start gradually introducing them to sippy cups until they become developed enough for a regular cup.
You Can Feed Them Soft Food
During this stage, your little one already uses one or several of the spill-proof sippy cups mentioned above. But in most cases, part of their oral training is not only drinking from a cup. They’re also trained to feed on soft food such as oatmeal, crushed bananas, and anything similar.
If you use a spoon feeder and a bowl to train them, this is also a good opportunity to test them by replacing their usual sippy cup with a regular one.
They Can Grab and Hold Stuff
Your child goes through a stage wherein they will be curious about all the objects around them. That’s part of their development. The resulting behaviour is they tend to grab any objects they can find and, once they get a hold of it, won’t let go easily.
Grabbing hold of objects is a sign that your baby is ready for a regular cup. Note that they must be able to keep hold of the object they grab and not just pick it up and throw it.
This is crucial. If your child can hold on to an object, you can introduce them to either a sippy cup or a regular cup.
How To Help Your Baby Drink From a Leak-Proof Sippy Cup
More often than not, your baby will need your help during the first few times they use a sippy cup. This is also true in every transition stage because each type of sippy cup brings something new, and your child needs to adapt to it.
As a parent, you can help your child in many ways to ensure they ease into drinking from the sippy cup safely and efficiently. Here’s what you can do.
Get a Plastic Cup Made of Non-Toxic Materials
Always get a plastic sippy cup. Glass is a no-no, as this can break when your child plays with the cup or tosses it. As a result, it can harm your baby in many ways.
You must also choose a plastic cup that’s safe to put in your baby’s mouth. It should be made of non-toxic materials and be free from lead.
Let Your Baby Get Familiar With the Sippy Cup
Once you see several signs that your baby is ready for a sippy cup, don’t go straight into replacing their milk bottles with the best spill-proof sippy cup you can find. Your baby may resist you. Instead, gradually introduce a sippy cup to their life.
You can start by having them play with an empty sippy cup after a meal. You can also put the sippy cup alongside their milk bottle so they can gradually notice the similarities. Then, let them grab it, flip it, and put the spout in their mouth.
Gradually Put Liquids in the Sippy Cup
Once your child’s little hands have become acquainted with the sippy cup, you can put liquid inside. First, put a small amount of liquid and hand it over to your child to see how they react to change. They will sense something different and more likely get curious.
We recommend keeping the liquids in small doses during the early stages. It allows you to manage the potential mess of having your child spill the liquid. It’s also a way to gently train your baby to drink from the cup with autonomy without overwhelming them.
Guide Them When They Use the Sippy Cup
If you want your little one to figure out how to drink from a spill sippy cup immediately, you can always help. There are different ways you can guide them. One thing you can do is to help them drink from the sippy cup yourself.
Alternatively, you can show them how to use one by grabbing a regular cup and drinking in front of them. This way, you serve as a role model for them to imitate.
You can do either or both of these methods to speed up the process.
Introduce a Different Sippy Cup
The best way to help your child go from bottle drinking to drinking in a regular cup on their own is to wean them at each stage of their development. Each type of sippy cup serves as a training cup that will help them develop naturally.
So if you want them to wean off the milk bottle, the best approach you can take is to introduce them to a soft spout sippy cup. Then, once they’ve gotten used to drinking from it, you can wean them off again with a hard spout. Continue this process until they get to the stage with regular cups.
Get Started With the Best Spill-Proof Sippy Cup by Ashtonbee
During your child’s transition from bottle to cup, Ashtonbee’s sippy cup lids can help. The lids can turn any regular plastic cup into a trainer cup that will gradually move your baby away from the bottle. It’s a practical alternative to most plastic sippy cups out there.
If you’re ready to discover more about sippy cup lids, explore our website. But if you’re looking for more products, you can check out our collection of baby essentials here.