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.
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.