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  • Hila Bahari

Transitioning from a bottle to a cup

All the info you need to know when Transitioning out of the bottle.


Let’s talk about transitioning your baby from bottle to a “sippy” cup.

Around 12 months, your baby should begin transitioning off the bottle to some sort of a cup (if you are breastfeeding, this does not necessarily apply to your baby).

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Lets talk about the Why?

🍼 Allows baby to master hand eye coordination, holding, lifting and tipping the cup while sitting upright.

🍼 Decreases attachment to a baby bottle which is harder to break past 12 months.

🍼 A baby bottle allows milk to linger in the mouth and can cause tooth decay. Make sure to brush your child’s teeth/gums before bedtime AFTER milk.

🍼 Switching from a bottle to a cup supports oral skill development and allows your baby to exercise the face/tongue muscles, soft palate and all others that relate to speech and feeding.

Lets talk about what type of cup is "best"

🥤Offer a variety of cups in order to support optimal oral motor skills. A straw, or open cup. Each requires different use of tongue and mouth than the baby bottle. You can see some of my personal favorites HERE.

🥤Many parents love the traditional sippy cup, it is important to know it doesn’t offer different skills than a bottle since baby places the tongue at the front of the mouth to form a seal and suckle. It is no longer recommended to use this type of a cup. If you do offer a sippy, make sure it is a soft top and limit the use. (most speech therapists will advise against using these).

🥤Allow your baby to drink from your open cup, this will teach to seal the lips on the sides of the cup and keep it sealed while swallowing. I love starting with an open cup at 6 months during meals first. Offering a user friendly cup like this one from ezpz is great. At first you will need to help your baby and with time baby will learn to use the cup independently. This cup is strategically created to be used by young babies.

Straw cups are also very helpful for babies! Did you know that learning to drink from a straw is an important developmental milestone for babies and toddlers?

Timing: Over the course of her feeding career (25+ years), Dawn Winkelmann has observed a lot of families and therapists trying to teach straw drinking to a baby between the ages of 4-9 months. She found that starting this early can cause babies to cough, choke and even have increased episodes of ear infections (because they lack the proficiency to do it safely). Straw drinking is a complex skill for a young infant to learn, as they have to suck, hold their breath, swallow, exhale and then breathe again. Introducing straw drinking too early can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience, and some babies may refuse to drink from a straw cup again. This can make weaning off a bottle a more difficult and lengthy transition.

Transition: As an infant swallowing specialist, Dawn taught thousands of babies how to learn to drink from a straw. Find that the ‘sweet spot’ for drinking safety and success is between 9 and 12 months of age. Developmentally, babies should be focusing on open cup drinking in the early months, and then transition to straw drinking. Although developmental ages are approximate and vary with each baby, here is a timeline for parents to consider:

  • 4-9 months: Open cup Milestone: Baby will drink from an open cup (held by an adult) Product: ezpz Tiny Cup

  • 9-15 months: Open cup + Straw cup Milestone: Toddler will drink from an open cup (independently with minimal spillage) Milestone: Toddler will drink from a straw independently Product: ezpz Mini Cup + Straw Training System (includes a toddler open cup + straw / lid system)


Textures: Dawn likes to teach children to use a straw with a thicker liquid first, like a puree. Once they are successful with that texture, then offer thinner purees (the consistency of nectar). Then move onto a denser liquid, such as breastmilk or formula. Finally, offer water, usually at around 10 months of age. Thin liquids are the hardest texture for babies to consistently swallow safely. Now, you may try water at 6 months and your child will be just fine with that so there is no harm with a test run first.

Teaching: When starting around 9 months of age, here are a few steps to help you teach straw drinking:

  • Take the Mini Straw and place the end of the straw into the puree (or liquid) then cover the tip with your finger. This will draw a small amount up into the straw.

  • Place the end of the Mini Straw towards your baby’s mouth, but don’t put it in their mouth. Encourage your child to lean toward the straw to independently place their lips on it.

  • Then slowly release your finger so they receive a tiny sip. This will help your child to have good lip rounding while learning to swallow from the straw.

  • Practice this strategy a few times until you feel your child actively sucking from the straw. Then place the Mini Straw back into the Mini Cup and encourage your little one to try drinking from it using the sensory bumps and straw angle to help facilitate a safe swallow.

Safe straw drinking is a critical skill to learn in order to foster drinking independence.

Some of this information is from Ezpzfun, Dawn Winkelmann

and some is written by Hila Bahari of Mamaguide.



** Some of the links above may be affiliate links, which means Mamaguide will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. When purchasing from these links you are supporting my work and allowing me to keep producing free content.


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