Whether we bottle feed or breastfeed, at some point we’re all going to want to get our babies to drink from a cup of some description. But some babies just don’t want to!
After a mum asked me about this on Twitter last week with regard to her 10 month old baby, I thought I’d write this post with five tips I’ve picked up along the way, partly by trial and error, and partly learned from other mums.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, if your baby’s already reluctant to drink from anything that he’s not used to, then he may well reject these cups because of how hard he has to work to get the drink past the valve.
Secondly, they don’t teach babies what happens when you tip a cup up – they don’t create any need for them to learn how to control a cup so that it doesn’t spill all over the place.
Thirdly, if it’s juice or milk in it, then it’s not good from a healthy teeth perspective if your baby carries his no-spill up all the time, taking sips here and there
2. Think about trying cups without spouts.
This kind of goes against what we’d expect, as that’s usually all that’s on sale, but if you’re holding the cup for your baby, and he actually wants to drink, then it’s probably the best way to learn the movements he needs to make with his mouth to start out with a real cup
3. If you try tip #2, just gradually let him take over more and more of the holding as he gets better at it.
Think about trying a slanted cup like the Doidy cup, which makes it easier for him to see where the drink is in the cup as it moves towards his lips
4. Leave cups of water lying around for him.
In the summer, try leaving a couple of cups of water outside for him to help himself to – it won’t matter if it makes a mess then, and will give him a good chance to experiment.
In the winter, you can do the same indoors, but obviously it would be far less messy to use a spouted cup. Unlike no-spill cups, normal spouted cups will leak if they’re knocked over, but not as much as an open cup, and as long as you’re around, it’s unlikely to make too much mess.
Sipping water regularly carries no risk to your baby’s teeth or health at all, so just make sure it’s that and not juice or milk you leave lying around like this!
5. Tempt him with your drinks.
If your baby simply isn’t interested in drinking from anything that isn’t a breast or a bottle, then try tempting him with your drinks. Obviously you need to make sure your drinks are suitable, but if you have a glass of water in your hand, and your baby on your knee, it’s pretty likely he’ll want to have a go at being like Mummy or Daddy, so let him!
Put the glass to his lips and tilt it so he can sip it. It’s a great way for him to learn, and he may well begin to want his own cup after a few goes of using yours.
Did you have a reluctant cup-user? How did you get your baby from breast or bottle to cup?