Parents of more than one child quickly learn that there is no such thing as a set age for any milestone, even one as simple as using a sippy cup instead of a bottle. Babies, and sometimes toddlers, are ready for this step at a variety of ages, but there are some steps to make the transition from the bottle to a sippy cup easier and more intuitive.
Sippy cups can be thought of as “training cups,” getting your baby ready for the next adventure of drinking out of a cup or glass without too much spilling. These cups are usually plastic and unbreakable, with a lid that includes a spout which helps your child to drink and not spill. They are extremely useful in the period of time between bottle feeding or breast feeding and the use of regular dishes and utensils.
Some children may have a difficult time making the transition from the bottle to a sippy cup. There are several ways to make this easier on your child, as well as on the parents. First of all, choose the first sippy cup carefully. Go for one that has a spout that is closer to a nipple than to a hard plastic spout. This will make your baby feel more comfortable and will be quicker to catch on to because it will have some familiarity. You may find that the sippy cup you thought would work best for your child is not the type that your child enjoys the most. Be prepared to change your choice if needed. Show your child how to hold the cup and sip out of it. You may actually have to act this out and drink water out of the cup for them.
You may need to try different types of cups, made of slightly different materials. If it doesn’t work right away, go ahead and re-introduce the sippy cup every few days or so. Your child may first use it as a toy but will eventually get to drinking out of it, which will in turn make transitioning to a regular cup easier. Transitions take time, and this is no exception. Again, each child is different, and don’t worry if it takes time to get your child to use the sippy cup on their own. Keep the cup handy at all feeding times so they understand it is part of the process, and eventually they will literally take hold and get it!