Let’s talk about transitioning from bottle/breast to cup! But wait, why are there so many cups? How to choose the right one? When do you do it? Does it even matter?!
The optimal progression from bottle/breast to cup
- Bottle – introduce in infancy and wean by 18 months
- Open cup – introduce as early as 6 months
- 360 Trainer cup (if needed) – between 6-12 months
- Straw cup – introduce between 6-12 months
Eventually the goal is for a toddler to drink from an open cup and/or straw cup for optimal oral-motor development.
What about a sippy cup?
A sippy cup is not optimal in the dental and speech therapy worlds. Both a bottle and sippy cup utilize an immature tongue-thrust pattern. In the speech world, this can have an impact on oral muscle development and delay ability for certain speech. In the dental world, prolonged use of sippy and bottle cups can potentially increase the risk of cavities due to liquid pooling around the teeth. Wean the bottle by 18 months completely if you can! Sippy cups are not bad, but straw and open cups are more ideal.
My personal tips
- Cup use takes practice! Introduce the open cup at 6 months. It can take months for them to get the hang of it. Practice with water so spills are easier to clean. Be patient with them and yourself.
- Straw cup: You can start anywhere after 6 months. For me, we optimized the open cup first. I do recommend starting the straw cup around 9-10 months and definitely by 12 months. The earlier you introduce, the more practice they can have. A straw cup can help develop proper advanced tongue placement.
- 360 cups: These can be a good option as they learn the straw cup.