Drinking from a cup

Learning to drink from a cup can be messy and fun but it’s all part of growing up. Your child needs to learn to sip, not suck.


Using a cup is better for your baby's teeth. Introduce a cup at around six months. Comfort sucking on a bottle can easily become a habit so its best to avoid this. Aim to have your baby no longer drinking from a feeding bottle by their first birthday.

If the cup has a lid make sure the water can drip out when turned upside down, this is known as a free-flow cup. Using a free-flowing spouted cup is the first stage of your baby’s progress to an open cup.

Valve cups (non-spill types) are not recommended. The sucking motion can lead to speech problems.

Never give sugary drinks in bottles as this can cause very rapid tooth decay.

When to give drinks

Never give your baby sugary drinks last thing at night or during the night if they wake. Other danger times for sweet drinks are between meals, in the buggy or car seat, or as a comforter.

The drip-feed effect means that teeth are continually under acid attack. Water is the best drink between meals for thirsty babies and toddlers.

Don’t let your baby fall asleep with a feeding bottle, or leave your child alone with a cup or bottle, as there is a risk of choking.