Starting your baby on the cup

Starting your baby on the cup

The easy way to wean from the bottle or breast

Lucille Beseler, RDN

Is co-author of Nurturing with Nutrition and a former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics representing over 100,000 Nutrition professionals, while also active as a clinical dietitian in South Florida.

Article in collaboration with: Melanie Bazarte, PhD

When and how to transition your baby to a cup 

  • Some babies don't take time to nurse when there is so much to explore, and sometimes wean themselves from breastfeeding before their mothers are ready to let go. 
  • Bottle-fed babies become more and more attached to their bottles as time goes on. 
  • In either case, starting the cup before weaning makes good sense as a transition.
  • Starting the cup 
    • Between 6 and 8 months, when your baby is sitting up and has some hand-to-mouth coordination, she is ready to be introduced to a cup.
      • Start by letting her play with an empty spill-proof cup. Then offer a small amount of breastmilk or formula in the cup before a feeding when she is thirstiest.
      • Make the most of her desire to mimic your behavior, and let her watch from her highchair as you demonstrate how to drink from her new cup. Then give her the cup and help her tip it and take a sip.
      • Expect her to turn the cup upside down and even throw it as she learns to hold it. Expect her to take up to several months to master this new skill while she transitions from breast or bottle.
      • Put breastmilk or formula in the cup so she will not reject the cup when the bottle is eventually discontinued.
      • As your baby eats more and more solids at each meal, her appetite for breastmilk or formula will lessen.
  • By her first birthday, she should be drinking about 16 ounces of breastmilk or formula each day and her intake of solids should be quite similar to yours.
baby on the cup

Adapted from Nurturing with Nutrition by Dr. Melanie Bezarte and Lucille Beseler, RDN

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