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Have the confidence to pick up a cup

Have the confidence to pick up a cup

pick up a cup branding

The Pick Up a Cup Scheme was created by Dudley Council to support families in transitioning their child to a free flow cup, once their infant is 6 months old and over.

For some parents and caregivers, transitioning to using a free-flow cup can feel overwhelming and worrying. This information aims to support parents and caregivers by offering both information on the importance using a free-flow cup and top tips to make this transition as smooth as possible.

When should my child use a free-flow cup?

Cups can be used from 6 months old.

If a baby has been using a bottle, these should be given up by the time your baby is 1 years old.

Why should my use a free-flow cup?

A free flow cup:

  1. Helps teeth and jaw development by teaching children to sip their drink, rather than suck the liquid.
  2. Protects children’s teeth from tooth decay. Make sure to use only milk and water in the cup.
  3. Reduces the likelihood of developing other oral health issues like having an overbite.
  4. Improves speech development.
  5. Reduces the likelihood of developing fussy eating habits.
  6. Encourages children to manage their feelings in other ways, instead of relying on feeding times for comfort.
Free-flow cups with lids for baby and toodler

What cup should I choose?

There are lots of free flow cups to choose from. It can take a bit of trial and error to find the cup that works best for your child. A sippy cup with a spout, or one with a silicone straw is fine. A cup with handles is also great and can help a child to independently hold the cup until they’ve developed a stronger grip.

Once a child has learnt how to sip their drink in a lidded cup, without spilling too much, it is then recommended they move onto an open cup.

free flow cups

Top tips for transitioning to a free- flow cup:

  • Timing is key- make sure to choose a time to introduce a cup when no other changes- like going to nursery for the first time, or events like being unwell- are happening
  • Make the change slowly- Introducing a free-flow cup with some water or milk in at mealtimes is a good place to start.
  • Make it exciting! Make sure there is lots of excitement around the new cup.
  • Reward your child with lots of praise, hugs and playtime for using a free-flow cup.
  • Making a new bedtime routine with a cup of milk, a snack, a bath, toothbrushing, a book and a cuddle will help your child find comfort at night time away from their feed.
  • Comforting objects like a soft toy or blanket may help settle your child.

Do not worry if using a free-flow does not go to plan at first. It is not always easy making this transition, but the benefits are fantastic. Keep trying and be positive about this change.

Remember to reach out to a Health Visitor or Family Hub Practitioner for any advice around using a free-flow cup.

baby, toddler drink with a cup
Have a confidence to pick up a cup booklet cover,

For more information and top tips on transitioning to a free-flow cup, download our free guide: Have the confidence to Pick up a Cup

Have a confidence to pick up a cup scheme postcard front
Have a confidence to pick up a cup scheme postcard back

Visit our local website pages for information and support on looking after babies and young children’s teeth.