Learning To Drink With A Cup

Lewis loves to drink water. In his bath all he wants to do is suck on the washcloth. At clean up time after meals, he steals the washcloth and sucks on it for several minutes before giving it back to me and letting me actually clean him. But as a breast-fed baby who has only used a bottle three times in his life, it has been a bit of a learning curve getting him to use a sippy cup.

A few weeks ago I got him a sippy cup to try. It is basically this cup, although ours is “Nuk” brand. (Are Nuk and Gerber connected? Our cup looks just like that, but blue.) I filled it with water and gave it to him a few times but he was only interested in banging it on things and chewing on the spout. I tried to help him tip it a few times to drink from it, but he had no interest. I then bought a package of Take n Toss straw cups since I had read that sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right cup. His only interest when I gave him these was pulling the straw out of the cup. I decided maybe he just wasn’t ready yet, so I backed off on giving him any cups for a while.

He has always been somewhat interested in my water glass when I am drinking, and since he was about 4 months old has liked to put his mouth to it in imitation of me, but he never actually drank from it and wouldn’t let me tip it even a little to try to help him get a drink. Just this week he finally has figured out how to drink water from a regular glass with help holding and tipping it. He now gets all excited when he sees me with a cup, and hardly lets me have a drink of my own water because he wants to try taking sips of it! (Sometimes he swallows his sips, sometimes he gets the water in his mouth and then just opens his mouth and lets it run down his shirt.) I tried again with the Nuk cup and he can do that with help too, but doesn’t get that he has to tip it up when he is holding it for himself.

I had also read that some babies just learn with a regular cup and skip sippy cups entirely. One suggestion I saw for this is to give them a shot glass since they are pretty sturdy (or you can buy plastic shot glasses) and a good size for little hands. They also have the plus side of holding less water which means slightly less mess.

I tried the shot glass with him after lunch one day. He figured out how to drink from it pretty quickly, but would take one sip, dump the rest of the water all over himself and the high chair, and then wait for me to re-fill it.

I tried the shot glass with him after lunch one day. He figured out how to drink from it pretty quickly, but would take one sip, dump the rest of the water all over himself and the high chair, and then wait for me to re-fill it.

He also has a fascination with the spray bottle that I use to wet his cloth wipes, and since I just fill it with plain water I let him play with it one day. He stuck the nozzle in his mouth and figured out that he could drink from it by sucking and basically “nursing” on the nozzle of the bottle, so he now tries to get a hold of the spray bottle every time he sees it because he wants to drink from it.

IMG_5635After he stole the bottle and sucked on it for several minutes again today I decided to try the straw cups again since it is a similar sucking motion, although the straw is narrower than the nozzle of the bottle and probably somewhat less similar to a nipple shape. I filled up one of his cups with water and stuck the straw in. First I took a sip from it since he likes to mimic me, then handed the cup to him. He started with trying to pull the straw out, so I put it back in and helped guide the cup and straw to his mouth. After a little bit he finally started sucking on it and discovered that he could drink the water on his own! He still spat water everywhere and turned the cup over frequently which also dribbled water, so it was messy, but it’s just water so I don’t really mind. Hopefully now I can drink from my own cup in peace and he will be happy to drink his with his straw!

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