Sippy Cups

What is a sippy cup?

A sippy cup is a cup with a screw- or snap-on lid and a spout that lets your child drink without spilling. Many sippy cups have handles on both sides.

Sippy cups can help wean your baby from breast- or bottle-feeding to drinking from a cup. When your baby can hold a cup but is not yet able to keep the drink from spilling, a sippy cup can help him learn while keeping the floor and table free of spills.

When can my child use a sippy cup?

After the age of 6 months, you can give your baby breast milk, formula, or juice in a cup at times just to show that drinks can come in another container. You might start with a sippy cup with 2 handles. This is easier for your baby to hold, and it helps prevent spills.

If your child uses a sippy cup, use it only at the table, while your child is in the high chair, or on a long car ride.

Can a sippy cup cause problems?

Never let your child carry a sippy cup of juice, soda, or milk around for hours or take it to bed. The sugars can cause tooth decay. Using a sippy cup too much may also cause an overbite of the upper teeth. Your child may link the sippy cup with security and comfort and refuse to go to bed without it. Falling with a sippy cup can injure the mouth and teeth of a toddler.

Try to limit juice to meals or snacks and give your child water in the sippy cup if he’s thirsty. Wean your child to an open-rimmed cup as soon as you can.

Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-09-05
Last reviewed: 2014-07-14
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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