Feeding Babies & Toddlers

4 Best Baby Open Cups +Teaching Your Baby Cup Skills

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Starting your baby on an open cup when they begin baby led weaning is a great way to start preparing them for weaning from a bottle as well as eating independently at meal times. Drinking from an open cup is a life skill that babies need to learn and finding the best baby open cup can help facilitate your baby in learning this important skill.

Why an open cup instead of a sippy cup?

Many Speech, Occupational and feeding therapists recommend skipping the sippy cups altogether.

  1. Open cups encourage proper swallowing patterns and allow babies to progress whereas sippy cups actually use similar motions to a bottle.
  2. Hard spouted sippy cups are not recommended by pediatric dentists or feeding therapists.
  3. Starting with an open cup will be a great transition to getting them to move on to a straw cup.
  4. Open cup drinking is a skill babies need to develop. Since sippy cups require the same method for drinking as bottles, sippy cups are not teaching babies new skills. Open cups require more coordination and encourage babies to meet developmental milestones.

Similarly, straw cups can make a great alternative to sippy cups for on the go or at home. If you are looking for a great toddler cup, be sure to check out our top recommendations for straw cups in this post.

infographic about why to start with an open cup in baby led weaning

What Age Should a Baby Drink from an Open Cup?

You can introduce an open cup to your baby at around 6 months old or when you start baby led weaning. Introducing it around meal times can work well as we don’t want to displace breastmilk or formula before the age of one, but cup drinking can be an important skill to learn.

What to Put in Your Baby’s Cup

Start by introducing the open cup with water, breastmilk, or formula. Your baby (younger than age one) should not be consuming anything but these liquids.

How much water can my baby have?

The official recommendation for babies 6 months to 1 year is no more than 4-8 oz per day. However, many experts recommend limiting it to less than this at 2-4 oz per day until the baby turns one year old.

Exclusively breastfed babies do not need water. Water between ages 6 months and 1 year old is totally optional and should be limited so as to not displace breastmilk or formula. Breastmilk is very hydrating for babies. Therefore, this is the only fluid they technically need before 1.

However, offering water in an open cup before the age of one can help babies to learn important cup drinking skills. Alternatively, you could offer breastmilk or formula in an open cup. Some water along with meals or food may help to prevent constipation in baby led weaning babies.

I personally give approximately 1 oz-1.5 oz with meals in an EZPZ tiny cup and find that my babies do not drink even 1 oz of this before the age of one. The EZPZ tiny cup is a great way to ensure fluids are limited as it’s a very small, 2 oz cup.

Best Open Cups for Baby

1. Best Baby Silicone Open Cup – EZPZ Tiny Cup (2oz size)

ezpz silicone open cup for baby
  • Holds 2 oz of liquid.
  • Perfect for babies when they start baby-led weaning at 6 mo.
  • Designed to fit in a baby’s hands and mouth.
  • Made of soft silicone.
  • The weighted base makes it somewhat topple-resistant.

This is the perfect silicone open cup for a 6-month-old and one of my must-have items for baby led weaning!

2. Best Silicone Toddler Open Cup – EZPZ Mini Cup (4oz size)

ezpz mini cup for toddlers
  • Holds 4 oz of liquid.
  • Perfect for age 12 months or older.
  • Designed to fit in a baby’s hands and mouth.
  • Made of soft silicone.
  • The weighted base makes it somewhat topple-resistant.

A step up from the EZPZ tiny cup it’s a little bit bigger and perfect for older babies/toddlers!

3. Best Open Cup with Handles – Green Sprouts Learning Cup

green sprouts open cup with handles for babies and toddlers
  • Holds 7 oz of liquid.
  • Made of silicone.
  • Handles and wide base for stability.
  • Made of soft silicone.
  • The weighted base makes it somewhat topple-resistant.

If you’re looking for a silicone open cup with handles this is my top recommendation!

4. Best Stainless Steel Stacking Open Cups

stainless steel open cups for kids
  • Holds 8 oz of liquid.
  • Great for storing as they stack together.
  • Comes with 4 different colored silicone bands to help distinguish cups between kids.
  • Works for toddlers as well as older kids.
  • Made of stainless steel.

Budget Open Cup Option: Shot Glasses

Though breakable it’s worth a mention that teaching your baby to drink from an open cup with shot glasses can work well. I used thrifted shot glasses with my first born and they are the perfect size. However, their main drawback is that they are totally breakable.

I personally got so tired of sweeping up shot glasses that my independent baby dropped that I purchased the open silicone cup before my 2nd born even turned 6 months old!

Open Cup Vs Straw Cup

Open cups and straw cups are both great options for babies with different purposes. Both are great to start teaching your baby at 6 months, but it may take longer for some babies to get the hang of the straw cup (others catch on right away.) For example, my son was drinking from a straw around 7 months but my daughter was closer to turning 1 year old.

ezpz tiny cup - best open cup
Top Recommended Open Cup for Babies: EZPZ Tiny Cup
baby drinking from open cup at 9 months old
Independent 9 month old that prefers to hold her own open cup.

How to Teach Baby to Drink from an Open Cup

I found it handy to keep a towel close by or even under my baby’s mouth in order to prevent them from getting wet while they learn to drink from an open cup.

Initially, you may prefer to work on open cup skills after or not in conjuction with a meal to help prevent the baby from getting wet or frustrated at meal time.

  1. Start by showing your baby what you want them to do by doing it yourself. Using the same cup as your baby can be very helpful or a cup that looks the same. Exaggerate taking a drink by stating “Ahh!” after you swallow.
  2. Start with a small cup (as I mentioned above, I love the EZPZ tiny cup) and a small amount of liquid (water, breastmilk or formula.) If using the EZPZ tiny cup you can easily start with 0.5-1 oz of liquid and the baby will still be able to take a sip easily due to the cup’s small capacity.
  3. Hold the cup slowly bring it up to your baby’s mouth. Allow your baby to practice while you hold the cup. It will likely take several tries as they learn the appropriate swallowing pattern.
  4. Once the baby is older (approx 10-11 months, give or take) they can often take sips independently. Some very independent babies may not allow you to hold the cup in which case you can continue to instruct them as they try to drink on their own. They will likely spill and that’s ok – they will learn!

What about Munchkin 360 cups?

Munchkin 360 cups are popular sippy cups. However, it is not recommended to start with one of these cups as the child does need to bite down and suck in order to retrieve liquid. Therefore, it is different than drinking from an open cup. Don’t fret if you’ve been using one (my son even has one!) but shoot for straw or open cups most of the time.

Open Cup Drinking – An Integral part of Baby Led Weaning

Teaching your baby to drink from an open cup is an important part of baby led weaning. It encourages independence at mealtimes and is an important life skill.

Other Helpful Articles for Baby Led Weaning Recommendations

Best Baby Led Weaning Highchair

Baby Led Weaning Essentials

Reviewed by Casey Fish, Occupational Therapist

Picture of open drinking cup with words "why baby should be using an open cup. Plus, the best open cups for babies."

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