When should a child start drinking from a regular cup?

When should a child start drinking from a regular cup?

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Source: Cleveland Clinic
Photo Credit:
Cleveland Clinic

Babies love their bottles and toddlers usually keep a tight grip on their sippy cups, but when is it time to say so long to the sippy or bye-bye to the bottle and how do you do it?
When it comes to baby and the bottle, the American Academy of Pediatrics says you need to move on to a sippy cup by the first birthday.  However, that sippy cup is only meant to transition between bottles and open cups, so the AAP says your child should be drinking out of a regular cup as soon as it's manageable, usually by the age of two.

"You can transition and say you can only have your bottle and your sippy cup with meals and at bedtime and otherwise you have to start using a cup. Or you can say cold turkey, you know what, you're a big boy now, you're a big girl now, we're going to take the sippy cups and the bottles and we're going to give them to someone else who needs them, a little baby that can still use them," said Dr. Deb Lonzer with the Cleveland Clinic.

Here's the problem.  Children and parents can become very attached to the convenience of a sippy cup, constantly carrying it around, drinking too much milk, juice or any other sugar-filled beverage.  It creates a bad habit and leads to a sugar bath on their tiny teeth causing tooth decay.
"Sippy cups are a relatively recent invention, so kids previously just used regular cups.  I'm not saying go to a glass because, obviously, we don't want something breakable, but a nice plastic cup with no lid, there's no question with two hands a one-year-old can start to use a nice, plastic cup with two hands."

Dr. Lonzer says if you're worried about the mess, supervision is critical.  She says make a rule about keeping cups in the kitchen.

For more help from pediatricians on all those tricky transitions, visit www.healthychildren.org.

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