Your 7 months old can drink from open cup
Yes you read it right! At this age, your baby can hold the handle of a cup and has been developing the coordination to bring it to his mouth and sip. So now you can offer him more fluids in an open cup:)
Don't expect your baby to be able to drink from a regular open cup till about 12 months of age. But during the initial stages when your baby has started solids, you can give him about 4–5 tablespoon of liquid at every feeding session in an open cup. This will help him get used to holding the cup and drinking from it. Once he masters the art of holding a cup, you can start giving him slightly thicker liquids such as diluted fruit purees or mashed fruits.
How to start giving your baby open cup
Start with a small cup and with lukewarm water. Once your baby gets used to holding and drinking from an open cup, you can offer other liquids. These include breastmilk, formula, fruit juices, diluted fruit purees, and warm herbal teas. Avoid giving carbonated beverages and cow’s milk till your baby turns one. Feeding from an open cup helps reduce the risk of your baby developing allergies. This is because you’ll be giving your baby more variety of foods, compared to giving him only from a spoon. From an open cup, your baby can get a full serving of liquids and proper nutrition. And this might encourage him to drink more, especially if he is below average in weight gain.
5 finger rule while feeding using an open cup
The 5 finger rule is a great way to introduce your baby to drinking from an open cup. It will also help him learn the proper technique of using a cup. First, give your baby the cup with his dominant hand. Let him play with the cup for a few minutes, so that he gets comfortable with it. Then, put your finger (of his non-dominant hand) over the cup’s opening, and place his finger over the cup’s opening. Next, place the cup against his lips and encourage him to sip. If he takes a drink, praise him for it.
When your baby can hold a cup and drink from it
This will vary from baby to baby. Generally, the babies who are gaining weight well from breastfeeding can start drinking from an open cup at 6 months. Other babies can start drinking from open cups at 7 months. Your baby can hold a cup and drink from it if:
- He can sit up with support. You can also hold him in your lap while he drinks from a cup.
- He can bring his hand to his mouth.
- He seems interested in the activity around him.
- He is able to move his head and neck in a smooth and coordinated way.
Open cup feeding schedule for a 6 months old baby
At this age, your baby will have developed a pattern of eating. He can be offered an open cup during his regular mealtimes. At this stage, you can give him about 4–5 tablespoon of liquid in every feeding session. This can include water, breastmilk, formula, diluted fruit puree or warm herbal tea.
You can also offer an open cup during feedings. If your baby is breastfed, you can offer him about 4–5 tablespoon of expressed breastmilk in addition to his feed. If he’s formula fed, then you can offer him about 4–5 tablespoon of formula in addition to his feed.
The most important thing while introducing your baby to open cup feeding is to keep it positive and relaxed. If your baby seems stressed out, put the cup away for a few days and try again later. Gradually, as your baby gets used to holding the cup and drinking from it, you can increase the volume of liquids he gets from the open cup.