Having a baby is always a joy, isn’t it? But, let’s face it, raising a child is not without its challenges. There’s so much to consider, and you always want to ensure you’re doing the right thing for your child.
You want to make sure they are developing and progressing mentally and physically at all times.
One of the questions we get asked all of the time is, ” When should I introduce a straw cup to my baby?” The short answer is that a baby can use a straw cup between 9 and 15 months old. However, it does vary depending on the baby.
So, let’s dive in with a little more detail as to whether babies should use straw cups, when to introduce them and how to transition onto straw cups.
Should Babies Use Straw Cups?
When it comes to raising a child, there’s so much debate around what’s the right thing to do that it’s difficult to keep up. Everyone has a difference of opinion.
But, in terms of straw cups and sippy cups, it’s perfectly fine to give to a baby from around 9 months of age. Or even earlier, from 6 months if your baby has the skills to use and drink from them.
However, it is best to choose ones that are designed with your child’s safety in mind. Ones with short, firm straws so it does not become a risk or a choking hazard. Of course, you’ll also want one with a closable, sealed lid to reduce spillages and keep everything clean.
We also advise skipping the sippy cup stage as this does not progress your child’s physiological development. Sippy cups can actually delay muscle development, as the way a child sucks and swallows changes as they grow up.
With straw cups, your baby will need to use their mouth and tongue differently from drinking from a bottle.
What this means is that straw cups can actually strengthen the oral muscles, as they have to press the tongue to the roof of the mouth, rather than the suckling method of drinking that they are used to from breastfeeding.
Therefore, as long as they have the motor skills to do this, they are fine to use a straw cup.
What Age Can A Baby Use A Straw Cup?
Babies all develop differently, and you cannot really compare. It’s the same as walking and talking. Some take to it more quickly than others, but it doesn’t mean they’re not going to be as smart or athletic in the future!
When it comes to progressing in terms of eating and drinking, babies can begin to transition onto straw cups from 6-9 months old. It depends on the child. However, from 9 to 15 months old they can start to hold and use a straw cup by themselves without your assistance.
Teaching Babies To Use Straw Cups
If you want to transition your child onto straw cups, then there are two things to keep in mind. The first is that you’ll need to teach drinking skills to your baby. The second is choosing a cup that is simple for them to practice with, and adjust to.
We recommend Honey Bear straw cups as the cute bear is eye-catching for your little one, whilst being ergonomically designed and easy to hold by themselves
However, learning to drink from a cup is a skill that will take time to practice and develop. It won’t happen overnight. You will need to remain patient, calm, and supportive as your baby learns to use their mouth in ways they never have before.
You’ll also have to start transitioning from bottles and breastfeeding onto solid foods and liquids from the cup. So, as a good marker, it’s a great idea to start introducing straw cups when you want to transition your baby onto more solid foods like a big kid!
You can start introducing the cup around 6 months old. However, your baby will need to show signs that they are ready. For instance, if your baby is starting to take solid foods, then now is a good time to start.
From about 6-12 months, babies tend to become more interested in table skills and will start to play with their food and feed themselves from a highchair.
Whilst some children may have passed the 6-month marker, they can be more reluctant to give up their bottles. It is really down to you to choose when is the right time to make the change.
For this reason, we tend to say that during the 6-12 month period, start practicing cup drinking rather than replacing bottles entirely. This can help your baby build confidence over time.
We recommend only using open cups or straw cups rather than sippy cups as your child (requires the oral muscle development that these provide. Whereas learning to use sippy cups is a skill that has no long-term benefit. That being said, it is your choice.
To teach a baby to drink from a straw cup, you will need to start slowly. Use just a straw, and trap a small amount of liquid in the bottom. Then, hold the straw out for your baby to use and wait for them to open up and accept it in their mouth like they would with food.
Then, when the straw is in their mouth, release your finger and let the liquid pour into their mouth. This will teach them to close and keep the liquid in their mouth.
Then, return the straw to the liquid, and repeat the process. If they seem distracted or push it away, then try again later at the next meal. Don’t force it. After a few times, your baby should start to get the picture.
Another option, use straw cups such as the Honey Bear Cup which are designed to teach straw drinking. With these cups, you can bring them toward your baby, and let them open their mouth to accept the straw.
Once inside the mouth, squeeze the cup and the liquid will rise up into the mouth. Most children will seal their mouths to swallow the liquid.
Keep practicing this, but stop squeezing the liquid out for them. They will slowly learn to get the liquid up by sucking the straw as it’s a natural behavior for them after breastfeeding.
This is our list of the Best Sippy Cups for Transitioning.
In conclusion, you can start introducing straw cups from about 6 months onwards. However, for your baby to fully accept straw cups, it can happen from 9 months onwards to 15 months. It’s best to do this slowly, and ensure your child is ready first.
If you seem to have tried it all, and your baby is resisting every time, then perhaps they are not quite ready yet. Give it time and try again.