Learning to Drink from a Cup: Using Glass Cups instead of Sippy Cups

Our home is a very different place than a childcare setting. Though it is not furnished with child-sized furniture, we demonstrate our respect for our daughter’s emerging skills by encouraging her to be an active participant in the routines of her daily life to whatever extent she is capable of.


At nine months, she – and most typically developing children her age –  is able to feed herself in a manner that is culturally consistent with our family’s style of eating.


This video is of a typical mealtime. Since she started solid foods at the age of six months, we have offered her a small glass of water along with each meal. When she started to reach for the cup on her own, we sat nearby ready to redirect the cup if necessary. After a few reminders to put the cup down without slamming it on the table, Greysen was drinking from a glass all on her own.

These cups are inexpensive ones from IKEA. At 3 1/2 inches tall these cups are the perfect size for small hands to hold. No awkward handles, cumbersome straws or over sized lids to deal with. Easy to wash, store, and replace, regular cups are easy to care for. (DISCLAIMER: Any and all breakables should be used with caution and under adult supervision).

Duralex also offers a glass cup designed with little ones in mind. These tempered glass cups are less likely to shatter than regular glass cups due to the manufacturing process. Glass cups are also importantly see through. This visibility allows Greysen to see what she is drinking and how much she has left.

Lidded or Not?
As a server once asked us, “Why give her a cup?”.  To which I answered, “Why not?” I consider sippy cups to have been designed for adult convenience rather than out of a genuine need for an adapted cup based on children’s abilities. I also consider adult convenience a very legitimate reason to use a sippy cup. I can imagine several instances where sippy cups are necessary such as car rides or while on the go. Committed to life without plastic sippy cups, we bring a glass cup with us most everywhere we go. Tucked away in the diaper bag or even in my purse, we have used glass cups everywhere from restaurants to the park.

And lucky for us non-lidded cups are not left around the house because Greysen has learned to treat glass cups with care, returning them to me when she is finished drinking. We have never found a moldy milk cup tucked away under the couch or under the seat of our car as I have heard can happen with cup that is safe to walk around with from two different parents.

Spills, Breaks, and Other Worries
Every now and then, a toddler-aged child would join the classroom I worked in. Since most of the children started at 3 months of age, they were accustomed to drinking from a cup but those who started later were often unfamiliar with this eating practice. Children who were not used to cups commonly spilled water more often than their peers or even younger children who were used to cups. these children would treat their cups like a sippy cup, tilting them 90 degrees or more right from the start and getting drenched by the first sip.

Worried that switching from a sippy to a regular cup might leave your child soaked? It just might. Most often children learning to drink from a cup will inevitably spill, but they will get the hang of it if you give them a chance. My suggestion – use a regular cup right from the start and offer just a little bit of water at a time to keep spills to a minimum.

Some of you may be cringing at the thought of glass shattering all over the kitchen floor so let me share one more thing.

The Score
For those of you keeping score, broken glasses in the year that Greysen has been using cups … Let’s see, that’s one for mom and zero for Greysen. In my defense, can you really ever do the dishes fast enough?

One thought on “Learning to Drink from a Cup: Using Glass Cups instead of Sippy Cups

  1. Lovely post. Wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments & they are the reasons I started my new little cup company. I completely agree with you – it often surprises their parents, but little ones really can use open cups. It’s the healthiest way to drink, for a multitude of fabulous reasons, and is also a skill for life. I hope you like our little cups. You definitely don’t need them now but I thought I’d say hi as it’s lovely to have discovered your blog and also this post. Our little cups are really tiny, so they make a great starter cup without the need for a lid or spout and they really are a sippy cup in the true sense of the word, rather than a ‘sucky’ cup (which is what most sippy cups really ought to be called!!). They are translucent and BPA free, phthalates free and are so tiny that a 6month old can easily hold them. Well done Greysen on being a great drinker and congratulations to you for being a great mum 🙂

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