How to get the baby to accept the sippy cup.
January 17, 2006 12:52 PM   Subscribe

My 13 month old son is absolutely refusing to drink from a sippy cup (we have eliminated his bottles completely). Any advice on how to encourage him to drink? He's at the point where he actually throws a mini-fit if the sippy cup is brought near his mouth.
posted by Todd Lokken to Health & Fitness (25 answers total)
Will he drink from a (plastic) glass? From a straw? A sports bottle? Find him another way to drink. Stop trying to force the sippy cup on him. He'll get over it like kids get over all the little whims they have. And even if he doesn't, it's not like drinking from a sippy cup is an important life skill we all use daily.
posted by duck at 12:58 PM on January 17, 2006

stick a straw through the sippy part of the sippy cup. Worked for my kids
posted by Thorzdad at 1:01 PM on January 17, 2006

Well, you can try different types of cup (although I might avoid the Nuby soft-spout cups, they beg the question "How is this not just a bottle?"). My kids both started with the First Years valveless disposable cups, and now we mostly use the Gerber cups. Some kids are very responsive to characters or color.

You can try taking him to Target and letting him choose his own cup.

You can try a straw cup--Munchkin makes a cool one with a flip top.

You can try a big-boy, no-lid cup. That's messy, but some kids really just prefer it.

You can wait until he gets thirsty. Toddlers really like to control whatever they can, and what goes in their mouths is pretty much all they've got. But you won't kill him if you stick to your guns and keep cups at the ready for the moment he caves.
posted by padraigin at 1:01 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: We've read that it isn't a good idea to force it upon them (and I'm not going to say we believe everything we read). We've also tried about 6 different types of cups (even the Nubys). I do like the suggestion of the big-boy cup....maybe I'm selling him short!
posted by Todd Lokken at 1:20 PM on January 17, 2006

I second the recommendation to let him pick out his own cup.

If you go with a no-lid cup, I recommend using a plastic mug like this:

They're shatterproof, have a wider base, and are heavier than most plastic or paper cups so they're a bit more stable.
posted by annaramma at 1:22 PM on January 17, 2006

This post makes no mention of any attempt to find out -why- the kid doesn't want to drink from the sippy cup. Does he want the bottle back? Does he want a grown-up cup? Has any attempt been made to try and figure that out?

Todd, I don't wanna give you heck for this, but this is a pretty vital bit of info on the topic.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:23 PM on January 17, 2006

I second the straw idea. My 10 month old loves the straw.
posted by Gooney at 1:24 PM on January 17, 2006

We've read that it isn't a good idea to force it upon them (and I'm not going to say we believe everything we read)

Yes, I had the impression that parenting was going to be my big chance to boss people around, and not a day goes by that I don't find myself rudely awakened by the power of a small child to stick to her guns.

That said, a child who has full access to food and beverage will neither hunger nor thirst. They'll just handle it on their own terms.

If you become really concerned about whether your kid is going to become dehydrated (the symptoms of dehydration are discussed here), you can make up for it by pushing fluid-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables. But it's not likely to come to that.

The only time I've really had trouble getting my girls to drink is when it really counts--when it's very hot, or when we're at altitude. Something that works well in those cases is to let them drink out of my cup--it's the same old water, it just seems special, I guess, if it's mine.
posted by padraigin at 1:29 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: Kick...I appreciate the comments. We really aren't sure why he doesn't like the sippy cup, and it may be because he wants the bottle back (but we aren't going there). We have tried to use a regular "big-boy" cup, but it's just so darn messy. Also, as far as the straw goes...the odd thing about my little guy is he doesn't seem to like those either.
posted by Todd Lokken at 1:29 PM on January 17, 2006

Drinking from a sippy takes a bit of learning. It's a different motion than sucking on a bottle and it takes some getting used to. Have you tried putting some kind of treat in there to give him some incentive to keep at it? A little chocolate milk or juice--something he doesn't drink normally?
posted by jrossi4r at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2006

Also, try taking out that little rubber/plastic bit under the cap. It's what keeps it from spilling, but it makes it harder for the kid to get the liquid out.
posted by jrossi4r at 1:34 PM on January 17, 2006

This post makes no mention of any attempt to find out -why- the kid doesn't want to drink from the sippy cup.

This is a great point, but "13 month old" was enough why for me. It's a common roadblock they throw up at you, the refusal to accept a cup as a replacement for the bottle (or a big-boy bed in place of a crib, or a booster chair instead of a high chair, or what-have-you). It probably has something to do with a desire for consistency as they hurtle through developmental stages, or something like that.

The psychology of all of this becomes more useful as they get older, but with one-year-olds, it's hard to get them not to jump on the couch when you're trying to analyze their behavior.
posted by padraigin at 1:34 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: jrossi--you'll love this...he eats anything and everything, but doesn't like juice. As far as chocolate milk...I like that idea, but when I've brought it up the past, the wifey is a no-go!
posted by Todd Lokken at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2006

As a past mom of three toddlers, why on earth can't a thirteen month old still have a bottle? He may simply not be ready for a cup. Why not put the cups away and try again in a month?

At that age you really need to choose your battles. Heck, at ANY age.
posted by konolia at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2006

1. Maybe everyone in the family should try using a sippy cup for a little bit. He may want to join in. This has worked with my son before.

2. Yes, letting him shop for his own cup is a good idea. Also try letting him choose what cup to use when it is time for a baby beverage.

3. Put the cup out for him, where he can reach it, before he even asks for/needs something to drink. He may decide to pick it up on his own and drink without the pressure from mommy and daddy. Good luck!
posted by bkeaggy at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2006

If by a sippy cup you mean one of those things with a cover with a limited flow sort of nozzle for the kid to drink out of, then none of my three kids ever took to them. We speculated that it was because it just took to much damn work to get the drink out of them. Our solution was the straws mentioned above. My wife tried it on our oldest kid on a whim, when he was tiny and it worked like a charm.

We mostly used the 8oz Rubbermaid Sippin'Savers. They don't spill and the kids don't seem to have any problem getting the drink down their throats at a speed that pleases them. Our kids didn't know what a bottle was, but had no difficulty using a straw as soon as they started drinking from anything but a breast at (the ages are getting hazy with the passing years) six months or so.

Once the kids were used to using a straw it made life much easier. When eating out, restaurants always have straws, though they are usually too long for a little kid; the solution was to use the scissors on my pocket knife to trim the straw to length. The kids thought that was really neat! (You will also need to hold on to the glass while it is 13 month old range, but I don't need to tell you that, and it won't be too long until the kid can be trusted not to throw the thing on the floor)
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:24 PM on January 17, 2006

When my youngest was a 13 month old, he went happily between nursing and drinking from a sports-bottle made for little it is.

We never used a sippy cup at all.
posted by Biblio at 2:31 PM on January 17, 2006

To combine the suggestions above: Try getting something other than a sippy cup (say a sip'n'save or sports bottle), and start putting all *your* drinks in it. When the baby shows interest, let him have a sip of your drink. Once he's happy drinking from it (yours), then offer him his own drink.
posted by duck at 2:41 PM on January 17, 2006

My 11-month-old has never used a sippy cup. I started him on a regular cup when he was about 4 months old, since he'd never had a bottle and I wanted to get him used to the cup. However, just recently, he has started refusing to drink from a cup. He doesn't want a sippy cup either. Still, he will drink from a straw if we dip it in the cup, put a finger over it, and let him suck out the liquid. Maybe try that.

He also seems more willing to drink when it is not meal time and when it is the same thing we're drinking.

A speech pathologist told me that sippy cups are bad for language development, so maybe this is a good time to try a regular cup. I think a large part of it has to do with being 13-months-old, though.
posted by acoutu at 2:59 PM on January 17, 2006


The suggestions about you using the sippy cup might work. For one thing, not all sippy cups are equal -- my son doesn't like certain brands of sippy cup because it takes too much sucking force to get any drink out. And some plastics taste funny. So use one yourself -- he might change his mind because Daddy uses the sippy cup, and you might learn why he doesn't like them.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:26 PM on January 17, 2006

If you haven't yet, I'd try making the hole in the bottle bigger and bigger so he gets used to more flow and less suction, and then transition him. Just another idea to throw out there - I have no experience with this.
posted by lorrer at 5:38 PM on January 17, 2006

Congrats on having such a strong willed child :) I'm sure it will take him far in life. No suggestions for you about the sippy cup (and seems like you have several good suggestions already), but an alternative to the Chocolate milk that your wife says no to:

Vanilla Milk - 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon sugar (or splenda, etc.); stir.

Very low in calories but tastes good. My 3 boys drink it every morning and they know that's the only time they get it :)
posted by LadyBonita at 6:03 PM on January 17, 2006

Be cautious; I've readthat sippy cups with no-spill valves can interfere with oral-motor development. Some info here under the Oral-Motor Skills heading. Maybe he'd like something akin to those adult coffee cups with only a small hole in the lid instead?

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, child development specialist, speech pathologist, or even a parent.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:38 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone on the suggestions. I'll come back and post here in a few weeks to give you an update.
posted by Todd Lokken at 8:21 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: In case anyone ever looks at this, I thought I'd give an update. Our little guy finally started taking the sippy cup, and around early Feb, really got with the program and all is well. It seems like patience was the only thing needed.
posted by Todd Lokken at 7:58 AM on April 8, 2006

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