Is a Sippy Cup good for my baby?


Our paediatric osteopaths Loz, Sarah, Simmone and Megan often get asked by parents “when do I start introducing water to my baby?”.

When to introduce water to your baby:

If your baby is around 6 months old, you can offer small amounts of boiled and then cooled tap water, but you should not replace their breastmilk or formula feeds. Breastmilk or formula should still be their main drink up to 12 months of age.  If your baby has started solids you can offer them water during mealtimes. This can help them learn about drinking from a cup as well as help prevent constipation.

It’s important to remember that although 6 months is usually the time when babies are ready for water, each child is different and you should introduce cup drinking when they are ready. Some signs that your baby is ready for cup drinking, are:

  • Good head and trunk control – they should be able to sit upright (with some support from a highchair)
  • Bringing their hands to their mouths
  • Showing interest in cups, food and drinks

Cup drinking:

Cup drinking signifies a progression from infant suck-swallow-breathe patterns of feeding (i.e. breastfeeding, bottle feeding) to more independence and shifting oral motor skills for feeding.

In order to drink out of a cup, more oral control of the mouthful is required. Cups flow at a different pace to breast and bottle feeding – with a cup your child has less control over the flow. In order to establish cup drinking they need to learn how to refine their oral sensory motor skills in a way that is different from the suck-swallow-breathe they’ve learnt with bottle or breastfeeding. They also need to learn how to move the tongue and lips independently from the jaw, and develop jaw stability.

Orofacial Myology

Our osteopath Megan is also a qualified orofacial myologist (OM), meaning she helps babies, kids and teens with conditions relating to tongue movement, mouth breathing, feeding difficulties, sleep difficulties, bed wetting, TMJ dysfunction, snoring, and jaw/facial development. She often will help guide parents with the introduction of feeding apparatus’, including what cups are best to begin introducing water in.

Here is Megan’s take on introducing water to your bubba:

“It is important when starting solids that you introduce an open cup as they start eating food. Just pop a little bit of water in an open cup at meal times and show them how you can use it so that they can learn from you. This might take quite a while for them to master, but encouraging using an open cup early can help with optimal swallowing technique which in turn can help proper tongue and mouth development. We definitely understand that open cups can be messy! This is why I would recommend offering bubs this form of drinking when you are eating at home, if you are out and about then cups with a straw are also beneficial to their oral development.”

Click below to see a video describing what Megan can help you with

If you have any questions about cup drinking in your child, give us a call on on (03) 9773 8085! Alternatively, click here to book an appointment online.

Sarah @ Total Balance Healthcare



This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Phone: (03) 9773 8085

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