Why learning to drink by yourself is important
It’s widely known that it’s important to let little ones learn to eat by themselves from an early age but often parents are unsure when is the right time to let babies learn to drink by themselves – we say start straight away!
You probably have a baby cutlery set, or set of soft spoons, that you’ve been using since you started weaning from 6 months. Whether you give them to your baby straight away, or use the spoon yourself, you are still stimulating what a ‘normal’ mealtime looks like, one where they are fed with a set of useful ‘tools’, ideally using them themselves. These are skills for life that you’re teaching and the sooner you start getting them familiar with these ‘tools’, the sooner they will become independent eaters (and drinkers) in their own right!
At the start cutlery and cups are often seen as a thing to play with, and that’s completely fine. It can be hit or miss whether they use them to get any food or drink in their mouth, what’s important is that they are comfortable with them and mimic you in giving them a go.
TOP TIP – have your own cup and set of cutlery with you at baby’s mealtimes and show them how to use them. They love to copy you and will get the idea quicker
Babycup First Cups have this month been approved by the Oral Health Foundation – the only mini open cup to receive this accolade. Dr Nigel Carter, Oral Health Foundation CEO and dentist for over 40 years, says, “Developing proper drinking habits at an early age is vital for oral development. Primary [milk] teeth are crucial to jaw development, speech development and adult teeth placement.” This is a strong message to parents to choose an open cup when introducing fluids during weaning as opposed to a ‘sucky’ cup – open cups encourage natural sipping instead of prolonged sucking which can lead to problems as milk teeth develop.
Some parents worry about the mess of their baby tipping the water out all over their highchair – we know this can be a fun game for them (not you!). We recommend persevering and using only a little bit of water so you don’t get massive spills – see our blog on water quantities here which may be useful. Another top tip is to use the cup at bathtime, that way the water you give just runs into the bath water.
So jump straight in with a mini open cup from the start of weaning – our cups are from birth to toddlers so last all the way through. They are perfectly sized for little hands to making gripping them that bit easier. For more great tips on open cup drinking read of open cup drinking 101 blog