Baby Whisperer: Introducing a Sippy Cup

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In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg stresses that when you introduce solid foods, you should start considering introducing the sippy cup, also (page 131). You want to start introducing the sippy cup around 6 months of age. Don’t expect your baby to be an expert from the beginning; you have to work on it and it will take time. Here are some of Hogg’s tips for making introducing the sippy as easy as possible (pages 131-132):

  • 6 Months: Start at 6 months. My added thought is that if your baby is beyond six months, don’t despair! Just start now.
  • Be Persistent: Hogg says you must give the sippy daily for three weeks for him to get used to it. If you don’t give it daily, it will take longer.
  • Find the Favorite: You might want to try different types of sippy cups. There are many different ones out there, from straws, to soft spouts, to hard spouts. When Brayden was a baby, I bought lots of different kinds right at first. With Kaitlyn, I bought a couple different kinds. With McKenna, I bought one sippy cup. By now, I know what the 6 month old tends to like. I also know that I would rather try one and see what happens. If the one I think she will most likely like turns out to be a bust, I will then buy one other kind. However, she is liking the one kind I got. It is a Nuby soft spout: No-Spill Cup w/ Soft Spout & Handles,. This is what my kids all liked in the beginning, and what I most often see young babies with. Hogg suggests that you don’t try one, switch, try another, switch… stick with each one or a month.
  • Positioning: Don’t expect your baby to know how to use a sippy cup automatically. You can’t just give baby a sippy while sitting in the high chair and expect her to go at it. I always give very little water in the sippy (so it isn’t too heavy) and try it with baby on the floor at first. They need to figure out what the sippy is for, and that takes time.
  • Liquid: Hogg also suggests you don’t put too much liquid in the cup. She says no more than one ounce. Hogg also suggests you avoid juice in the sippy since baby might associate sweet liquid with the sippy and refuse milk when the time comes. My thought on this is that baby might refuse milk in the sippy when the time comes even if all she ever has is water (Kaitlyn did). Some moms put breastmilk in; others avoid it because they hate to see it go to waste. Like I said, I just use water. I had tried juice with both Brayden and Kaitlyn, but they both hated it. I have since decided I much prefer them hating juice and have no desire to give it to McKenna. But do what you think is best for your baby.
  • Journey: View introducing the sippy as a journey–a fun experience. This is not something that needs to happen immediately. If you do this, you are more likely to have success.


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Tyler and Shea Moses
    October 1, 2009 / 5:08 PM

    Hello again!I was so glad to see this post! My LO is 8 months and 1 week old. I introduced the sippy cup at 6.5 months with 1 oz of water. I have not given juice or anything else in the sippy cup. I just was wanting to know, when should they really be able to use the sippy cup for what it is intended. I have made the sippy cup a part of her day, every day for 1.5 months now, and she is still far from expert, but we have made far progress from the first week. We use the nuby soft spout with handles as well. Should she still be struggling just a little bit?

  2. Megan D
    October 1, 2009 / 5:38 PM

    My little girl is having issues with the sippy cup too. She never took a bottle so that may be a big part of it. I just got a new cup called the Tilty and it seems to be working better. the cup is angled inside so that they do not have to tilt it all the way back to get the liquid. Also it is not a non-spil but it does not gush. It just releases a few drops so that they know there is something inside to get. It seems to be working better but we still have a long ways to go. She would rather just chew on everything. 🙂

  3. Redheads
    October 1, 2009 / 6:12 PM

    My DD is 8 months and 1 week old as well. We started the sippy at 5.5 months. At first, every sip she took, all the water would come dribbling down her chin! She didn't really start getting the hang of it until about 6.5 months. She cannot do it by herself yet. Recently, she grabs both handles (Nuby, soft spout w/ handles), aims and puts the spout directly in her mouth. She hasn't figured out how to tilt it yet so the water comes out. She has really started to enjoy drinking water. Only a few gulps per meal, but that is enough. She also likes drinking out of "adult" cups too. I think within another month or two, she will be able to do it all by herself. For now, I just tilt it for her.

  4. Rachel
    October 1, 2009 / 10:44 PM

    I just discovered a sippy that I am going to use with my 6 month old to start. It is the Gerber Nuk learner cup. It is really small with handles (smaller than the Nuby one) and has a soft spout as well. I hope it will be more managable than some larger ones. My son just turned 6 months yesterday so we are about to start!

  5. Michael and Natalie
    October 1, 2009 / 10:53 PM

    I used the sippy cup consistently with my daughter for months without seeing a tremendous amount of improvement or even interest from her. Finally my mother asked me if I'd ever let her use a straw. I thought she was crazy, what 8 month old could know how to use a straw when they couldn't even use a sippy cup?! But sure enough she took to the straw like a fish to water and never looked back. I purchased a straw cup (if you search this at the type of product I use will come up) and she loves it! I think that the tipping back thing didn't really make sense to her, but with the straw she would even prefer that to her bottle on the occasional evening I wasn't home to nurse her for her last feeding. If anyone is struggling with the traditional sippy cup, try a straw cup and maybe that will work better for your child. My daughter's pediatrician also said that a straw cup is better than a sippy cup because that will make for one less transition as they get older. I don't know if I completely agree with that, but it's worth considering.

  6. The Parkers
    October 8, 2009 / 5:29 PM

    My son just turned one. We have been trying over the past month to transition him to sippy cup (which we regretably should have started much earlier, but can't change now!). He will drink from a sippy cup, but only about 2 oz., as compared to his previous 6 oz. bottles. Over the past week, as a result of moving to a sippy cup, he has dropped about half of his milk intake but not increased his food intake. He has recently started waking in the middle of the night and fussing for about 5 minutes every 30 minutes from 3am until his waketime at 6am, and I think it is because he is hungry from dropping all those calories and not replacing them with food. Any suggestions? I am very tempted to go back to a bottle just so he gets his milk intake back up, but that seems to be heading in the wrong direction.

  7. Lisa Andreasen
    October 9, 2009 / 3:04 PM

    When do you offer a sippy cup with water? Is it part of meal time or in between? My daughter is 5 months. We just started rice cereal and she barely eats 1/2 T mixed with 1 T of liquid. When I am at work she eats 5 oz of milk and eats part of the cereal. If she won't finish that, I'm concerned about adding water as well.

  8. Plowmanators
    October 24, 2009 / 9:15 PM

    Tyler and Shea Moses, I wouldn't worry about it yet. Just keep offering it. I would offer it more often than once each day. Perhaps after each meal. She doesn't need it yet, so just keep being chill about it and go at her pace. You can also try sippys with straws.

  9. Plowmanators
    October 24, 2009 / 9:16 PM

    Megan, that sounds like a good idea for sippy cup! You have to put so little in it when they are little that they have to tip it way back to drink. Thanks for telling me about it.

  10. Plowmanators
    October 24, 2009 / 9:17 PM

    Redheads, I think it is so cute when they "drink," then smile, and all the water comes back out 🙂

  11. Plowmanators
    October 24, 2009 / 9:18 PM

    Rachel, let me know how it goes!

  12. Plowmanators
    October 24, 2009 / 9:19 PM

    Michael and Natalie, I have heard that straws are better developmentally than sippy cups…that drinking from a straw is more like drinking from a cup? I have also read that drinking from straws seems to be easier for breastfeeding babies than sippy cups.

  13. Plowmanators
    October 24, 2009 / 9:26 PM

    Lisa, I do it after a meal. I let baby lay on the floor and give her the sippy. I sometimes also give it to her at the end of the meal to see if she wants a drink. I also give it to them when they eat finger foods once they start.

  14. Hanns
    June 9, 2015 / 10:53 AM

    You want to start introducing the sippy cup around 6 months of age. Don't expect your baby …

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