Whether you’re getting ready for your first feed, or are further into your solids journey, one thing is for certain: you need the right gear. From utensils to cups, plates and bowls, having the right items to support your child’s feeding journey is key.
When it comes to cups, our expert, Vanessa Thornton, MS, RD, CSP, LDN, Registered Dietician & Board-Certified Specialist in Pediatrics, and the expert that leads our Introducing Solids 101 class, says there are a few things to consider, and a few of our favorite options for each.
What to consider when buying a straw cup:
- A soft, flexible straw
- Only a few pieces to wash
- A cover for travel
- No handles
- A straw cleaning brush is included with purchase (if not, you will want to buy one separately)
- A weighted straw (not a necessity, but a definite nice-to-have)
Here are some of our favorites:
- Silicone Toddler Cup with Straw, $14.99
- Contigo Spill Proof, $11.49
- Cupkin Stainless Steel cup w/ Silicone Straw, $30.00
- Olababy silicone training cup, $17.95
- Munchkin Simple Clean,$11.98
- Elk and Friends,$38.99
- Munchkin Click lock weighted straw, $13.90
- Nubby no spill, $8.99
- Tommee Tippee, $15.99
What to consider when buying an open cup for your baby:
- Is small enough, only holding 2-4 oz of water at a time
- Is made of a soft material, like silicone
- Has a weighted bottom
- Is handle-free
Here are a few of our favorites:
- EZPZ, $11.49
- Toddler Cup, Silicone, $9.98
- Baby Cup First Cup, 14.99
- Toddler Cup and Spoon Bundle, $13.99
- Munchkin Splash, $10.99
- Panda Ear Training Cup, $6.99
- Silicone Baby Tiny Cup, $12.99
Now that you have the right products, let’s take a look at how and when to introduce a cup to your child.
When can I first introduce a cup to my baby?
You can introduce both straw cups & open cups as soon as you start solids. You can use them to offer water, breast milk, or formula with solid feeds.
How do I teach them to use the cup?
Teaching your child to use a cup comes down to two things: modeling and practice. Show your baby by modeling, exactly what they are supposed to do with the cup — this looks a little different for a straw vs. an open cup.
When introducing straw cups, show them how to use them correctly by filling a clear cup with colored liquid (like juice or coffee), and make an exaggerated fishy face as you drink the liquid through the straw. Once your baby tries, if they are taking too much liquid at once and making themselves cough or gag, you can teach them to sip by putting only half an ounce of liquid in the cup at a time, and refilling as needed. This will eliminate the ability to take in too much liquid at once.
When introducing open cups, show your child by filling a clear cup with colored liquid (like juice or coffee) and drink from it with two hands. Then, bring baby’s cup to their mouth, and encourage them to take a sip.
Expert tip: If your baby keeps dumping liquid on themselves, try filling their cup with something like purees that are thicker and heavier.
What if I don’t have a special cup yet, what else can I try?
If you haven’t had the chance to purchase an open or straw cup for your baby, but would like to start introducing a cup to them, know you can also use items around your house including bottle covers, nipples turned upside down (expert tip: try filling them with purees!), condiment cups, a plastic shot glass, or a to-go cup.