How to transition from a bottle to an open cup
Transitioning from a bottle to an open cup can be hard for your baby as they come to terms with a new routine and new way of doing things. For parents too, it can be hard to see your little one struggling as some babies can do. A gentle transition off the bottle to an open cup by the time your baby reaches 12 months old is what you should try and aim for and this starts as early as 6 months old with little sips and lots of support and encouragement from you. In this blog we talk about why switching from a bottle to an open cup by 12 months of age is important and give you some tips to help the transition.
Reasons to switch from a bottle to an open cup by 12 months of age?
- By 12 months old, your baby should be able to grasp hold of a small open cup and be able to have some control in lifting it towards and away from their mouth. Just as they will be starting to learn to use a spoon at mealtimes, their pincer grip and hand-eye coordination will be developing quickly to put them in the driving seat to control what they put in their mouth. Reaching this developmental milestone should give you confidence that your baby is capable of using an open cup and will help baby slowly wean off a bottle.
- One of the big reasons for weaning your baby off a bottle is to prevent tooth decay. Sucking can cause liquid to pool around baby’s little teeth which can lead to tooth decay. It can also hinder the way baby’s teeth develop when they break through the gums. An open cup like Babycup First Cups are the healthy way for babies to learn to drink from 6 months old, supporting healthy oral development. Read more about teething here.
- Drinking from a bottle can become a hard habit to break, it can lead to tumbles if your toddler is running around with it hanging from their mouth, it can also mean your baby is taking more in liquid form than from their food. Using an open cup promotes sitting at a table for drinking and eating, a perfect time where your little one can watch you eat and mimic you.
Choose an open cup that’s been approved by the Oral Health Foundation
Babycup First Cups have been approved by the Oral Health Foundation – the only mini open cup to receive this accolade. Dr Nigel Carter, Oral Health Foundation CEO and dentist for over 40 years, says, “Developing proper drinking habits at an early age is vital for oral development. Primary [milk] teeth are crucial to jaw development, speech development and adult teeth placement.” This is a strong message to parents to choose an open cup when introducing fluids during weaning as opposed to a ‘sucky’ cup – open cups encourage natural sipping instead of prolonged sucking which can lead to problems as milk teeth develop.
Making the transition a gentle one…Let’s get sipping!
We’ve put together this simple guide to help you get started with an open cup. Starting early in your baby’s weaning journey will help them on their way to becoming confident open cup drinkers by their 1st birthday.
- Position – start in a highchair so your baby feels well supported and relaxed ready to learn this new skill
- Try a small amount of liquid in the cup at first – if there are spills this will keep them to a minimum
- Try holding the cup with your baby or toddler guiding it to their mouth
- Hover a hand nearby whilst they start to hold and direct the cup themselves
- Don’t forget to give lots of praise and encouragement!
- Sit with them and let them watch you drink from an open cup too – they love to copy and learn from you!
- Try these extra tips:
- Practise at bathtime when they’re already surrounded by water so spills don’t matter!
- Give the cup of water after a meal so they’re not hungry and distracted
- When you start to hold the cup to their lip, rest it there for a little while so they start to close their lips around the rim
To buy a set of our cups or find out more about why they are a great first open cup for your baby or toddler, visit our product page