For Baby

Introducing a cup

From around six months you need to be encouraging your baby to use a cup to drink water from.

You can buy cups with special valves to sip from so it’s not a huge transition from your baby’s bottle. The Heinz Baby Basics range has some good options, including a trainer cup that comes with different interchangeable options to help them progress through the different stages of learning.

If you can choose an open or a free-flow cup without a valve (like the final stage of the trainer cup) that’s even better. This will help your baby learn to sip properly, and it’s better for their teeth.

Introducing a Cup

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Give your baby sips of water from a cup with their meals, as well as between meals.
  • If you want to you can start to offer expressed beastmilk or formula in a cup rather than a bottle. Start by replacing one bottle of milk with one cup of milk a day and build up from there.
  • Keep at it! Getting them to use a cup every day is the key.
  • Aim to have your baby off their bottle and using a cup by their first birthday.

A few benefits of using a cup are:

  • Bottles over 12 months are not a good habit - babies and toddlers who are allowed to sip milk out of a bottle all day are much more likely to get tooth decay.
  • Your baby is likely to drink less milk from a cup therefore encouraging more of an appetite for food, which is good because food is becoming a more important part of their diet.
  • Using a cup can help improve your baby’s hand-eye coordination.
  • Cups are the great time saver, they’re much quicker and easier to clean than bottles.

Watch our Baby Feeding Tips video for more tips.

Comment 8

Have your say...

Teresa's Comment

My baby is nearly 11 months old and doesn't even attempt to hold his bottle and will not even try to hold a training cup. Help. Finger food is also a no go, he will not engage in this either.

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Teresa, thanks for your message. Remember that individual babies will reach their milestones at slightly different times, and this is completely normal. If you would like to speak to one of our health professionals about feeding your baby please call the Forbaby Careline on 0800 55 66 66.
Regards, The Forbaby Team

Kim's Comment

Oh dear! I just read your comment about bottles over 12 months not being a good habit because of tooth 2.5 year old still has his milk in a bottle at bedtime and has so far refused to drink milk from a cup, he drinks everything else from a cup but not milk!! Any suggestions to encourage him?? Thanks

Reply from The ForBaby Team

HI Kim,
Rest assured, it’s very common for toddlers to refuse milk from anything other than a bottle if that’s what they’re used to.
There is no magic trick – only persistence. Offer milk at bedtime in a cup, and if he refuses to drink it, no problem! You can’t make a toddler eat or drink, and eventually if you are consistent he will figure out that you mean business and the bottle isn’t coming back. In the meantime, as long as he is having a variety of foods and drinks of water over the day, it’s not the end of the world for him to miss out on milk at bedtime.
If you need more advice, give one of our health professionals a call on the Careline 0800 55 66 66

Kelly's Comment

another good idea to teach baby to sip from a cup is to take a cup of fresh water at bath time and practice there! then you dont have to worry about the dribbling :)

lezarne's Comment

hi my baby is 8 months can my baby drink normal cows milk

ForBaby Team's Comment

Thanks for your comment. For at least the first 12 months your baby needs breastmilk or a suitable formula as their main milk drink.
Cows' milk isn't suitable to offer as a milk drink for babies under 12 months old. Babies can be offered dairy products at around 7 months including cheese, yoghurt and custards!
We hope this helps :)

Karen 's Comment

My baby is 8.5 months now, refuse to drink water from any sort of bottles other than from a spoon, when she drinks she play with the teat. Drinking milk from a bottle with no problem at all. She will only drink water from bottle when I added a table spoon of freshly squeezed orange juice to the water (100ml). I got her an Avent training cup with a soft teat / sip, then she chok a lot every time. She is currently using a medium to fast flow twT for milk now.nAny suggestions? Thanks

Reply from The ForBaby team

Hi Karen,

Thanks for your question.

Yes, it does usually take an infant a while to get used to drinking water. The main thing is to persist. Continue to offer the cup, sit it on the high chair and offer it after meals, and offer it occasionally between meals. But don’t put any pressure on her, it does take a while for them to get the hang of it. Try sticking to just plain water, and as long as she is having regular wet nappies and still drinking plenty of milk, she should be sufficiently hydrated. If you feel the water is flowing to fast for her, you could try a training cup with a valve as this will have a slower flow.

Hope this helps!
The ForBaby team

Rachael 's Comment

Hi there, I have a 9 month old who won't take anything but the breast. Is there any helpful hints to help encourage the transition to a cup? I am due with my 2nd child in 3 months so I would like to have weaned her before baby is born. Thank you

Reply from The ForBaby team

Hi Rachael,

Thanks for your query, so we can understand a bit more and help you further we’d love to have a chat with you. If you would like to give our Careline a call on 0800 55 66 66, we can pass your details onto our Dietitian to get in contact.

Thanks and look forward to talking to you soon,
The ForBaby team.

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