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The Ins and Outs of Sippy Cups – Common Questions

In my office, parents always have questions about sippy cups. What kind? When should I
introduce one? With the varying styles and designs available, it understandably causes
confusion. I’ll try to clear things up a bit. Here are a few questions that come my way:

  1. When should my child transition to a sippy cup?
    ● No child is the same, but the American Academy of Pediatrics
    recommends somewhere between 12 and 24 months the child should be ready
    to move on from the breast or bottle.
  2. What kind of cup should I get?
    ● The point is to shift from sucking to sipping and “no-spill” cups tend to
    defeat that purpose. I recommend a cup with a screw-on lid and a spout but no
    valve to prevent spills. That way, the child avoids sucking and learns how to sip
    on their own without spilling.
  3. Is juice okay?
    ● The real question is not what kind of cup or when, it’s what goes inside
    the cup that matters. Water only and never juice or other sugary drinks! The
    American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is no nutritional value in juice
    for children under the age of 1 and recommends no more than 4-6 oz/day for
    toddlers and young children. Juice is often regarded as vitamin-rich and therefore
    healthy. However, the amount of sugar (even natural sugar) in juice may have
    devastating effects on young teeth and can contribute to cavities. It should only
    be consumed sparingly well into the teenage years.
    These recommendations do not address medical situations where specific nutritional guidance
    is needed to manage a health condition, so make sure to discuss any major shifts in your child’s
    diet with their pediatrician. I hope I’ve offered a little bit of advice in what is undoubtedly the
    hardest job in the world!
    Don’t stress, you’re doing great!

Susan Fallahi, DDS
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Uptown Pediatric Dentistry, New Orleans, LA