Moving from Baby Bottle to Cup

Managing the changeover to toddler feeding

Babies enjoy sucking on their bottle teats. This is fine when they are very little, but as they grow into toddlers it’s important to wean them onto drinking cups.

Why do I need to move my baby on from bottles to baby drinking cups?

When he’s between 4 and 6 months old, your baby will begin to cut his first teeth. These are vulnerable to attack from the sugars that are present in:

  • milk of all kinds
  • fruit juice, even diluted

Bottles with teats have quite a slow flow. Sugary liquid pools around new little teeth for longer than it would if it came from a faster-flowing cup. This can cause tooth decay.

Using a bottle for longer than necessary can also affect speech development, especially if your baby likes sucking on the teat for comfort.

Getting used to a cup is part of the growing up process, but to make it easier, try a gradual transition. Your baby can move from sucking to sipping from non-spill cups and sippy cups, then, as the next step, move from sipping to drinking from open cups.

When should I start getting my baby to use a cup?

Dentists advise switching your baby to a cup at about 6 months. This ties in with weaning onto solids, so it’s a good time to introduce a cup with the spoon and bowl.

Make sure it’s made of unbreakable plastic, with chunky handles for little hands to hold. It’s a small but important step towards drinking independently.

What if my baby doesn’t want to use a cup?

You can:

  • try a different type of cup
  • let  him choose his own cup
  • buy a bottle to cup trainer
  • offer rewards, like stickers, for using the cup


How does this work with breastfeeding?

You can breastfeed for as long as you like, so you may be able to miss out the bottle stage and go straight to a cup.

What are the best baby cups?

  • Non-spill cups have a valve, but require a strong suck to drink from.
  • ‘Sippy cups’ with flip top lids offer a faster flow
  • Multifunction cups these have teats, a spout and an open cup
  • Open cups are great for your child’s teeth but not for the mess they make!