Baby's First Year · Nutrition · Parenting

Introducing baby to a cup

Cheerful baby sitting in chair and holding a green cup

During our nutrition groups, a common question parents ask is “Now that my baby is starting solid food, how can I get them to drink fluids from a cup?”

This is an excellent question! Nutrition is dynamic and information changes all the time.

Health Canada recommends when introducing solids to your baby around six months of age, your baby can learn to drink from an open cup.

So, what is an open-cup?

It’s a regular cup that you usually use without a cover. For your baby, you can use a child size cup without a cover.

What about using sippy cups?

Using sippy cups and other training cups do not support the development of baby’s mature drinking skills. With these other cups babies get liquids by sucking and little oral control is needed.

How do you use an open cup?

You can help your baby learn to use an open cup. When you first start giving fluids to baby in an open cup, hold the cup against your baby’s mouth and let your baby suck the rim of the cup. Soon your baby will learn to open their mouth for the cup, and hold it all on their own.

What’s the benefit of using an open cup?

By using an open cup you are helping your baby develop mature drinking skills. This may actually help to prevent filling up on fluids and leave room for other nutritious food.

Giving fluids to your baby in an open cup supports responsive feeding which includes; how your baby feels, their appetite and whether there are distractions around feeding time and it promotes healthy eating.  Using an open cup helps your baby pace how much they drink, follow their hunger and fullness cues, and lets them guide their own feeding.  Giving fluids in an open cup can also lower the risk of dental decay by lessening the exposure of their teeth to sugar-containing liquids.

Your baby will probably make a mess at first, but making a mess is okay as it is part of the learning process.

Interested in learning more about feeding your baby? Register for our Healthy Eating Series.

For more info, connect with:

  • Toronto Public Health via eChat or call 416-338-7600
  • Telehealth to speak with a Registered Dietitian 1-866-797-0000

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