How To Teach a Baby to Drink from Straw?

Watching your baby reach new milestones is one of the most exciting experiences of parenthood. Transitioning from breastfeeding or bottle-feeding to drinking from a straw is one such milestone that can be both thrilling and challenging. Learning to sip from a straw is not just about hydration; it’s also an important developmental skill that enhances your baby’s oral motor and coordination abilities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to teach your baby to drink from a straw effectively and safely.

Why Teach Your Baby to Drink from a Straw?

Before we delve into the “how,” let’s briefly discuss the “why.” Why should you bother teaching your baby to drink from a straw when there are more conventional methods like bottle-feeding or sippy cups? Well, there are several compelling reasons:

  1. Oral Motor Development: Drinking from a straw helps develop your baby’s oral muscles, promoting better speech and swallowing skills down the road.
  2. Hydration Transition: Learning to use a straw facilitates the transition from breast or bottle to cups, which is an essential step towards independent drinking.
  3. Less Mess: Straw cups are spill-resistant and less messy than open cups or sippy cups, making them a practical choice for parents on the go.
  4. Tooth-Friendly: Straws direct liquids to the back of the mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay compared to sippy cups that can bathe the teeth in sugary liquids.

Now that we understand the benefits, let’s move on to the step-by-step process of teaching your baby to drink from a straw:

Step 1: Choose the Right Equipment

Selecting the right straw cup is crucial for success. Look for a straw cup designed for babies with soft, flexible silicone straws. The cup should be easy for your baby to hold and drink from, and it should also be spill-resistant. Some popular options include the Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Straw Cup, Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup, and the Nuby No-Spill Super Spout Grip N’ Sip.

Step 2: Timing Matters

Start introducing the straw cup around the age of 6 to 9 months when your baby is showing signs of readiness. These signs may include sitting up independently, showing interest in your drinking cup, or trying to grab it. Always consult your pediatrician for personalized guidance on when to introduce a straw cup.

Step 3: Familiarization with the Cup

Before attempting to drink from the straw, allow your baby to become familiar with the cup. Let them explore it, hold it, and even chew on the straw if they wish. This helps create a positive association with the cup.

Step 4: Demonstrate Sipping

Babies are excellent imitators, so show them how to use the straw cup. Take a sip yourself and make a big deal out of it—smile, make happy sounds, and maintain eye contact with your baby. This demonstration can pique their interest and curiosity.

Step 5: Control the Flow

To prevent your baby from becoming overwhelmed, control the flow of liquid. Fill the straw cup with a small amount of breast milk, formula, or water. Ensure that the liquid level is below the top of the straw. This will make it easier for your baby to manage the flow initially.

Step 6: Encourage Sucking

Gently place the straw in your baby’s mouth. Your baby may not get it right away, but that’s okay. Be patient and encouraging. You can help by gently squeezing the cup to release a small amount of liquid into your baby’s mouth. This will encourage them to suck on the straw.

Step 7: Offer Praise and Positive Reinforcement

When your baby takes a successful sip, offer lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Clap, cheer, or use words of encouragement like “Good job!” to celebrate their achievement. Positive reinforcement will make your baby more willing to try again.

Step 8: Practice Makes Perfect

Like any skill, learning to drink from a straw takes practice. Offer the straw cup during mealtimes and throughout the day. Some babies may take to it quickly, while others may need more time to adjust. Be patient and keep offering the opportunity to practice.

Step 9: Gradual Transition

As your baby becomes more proficient with the straw cup, you can gradually reduce their reliance on bottles or breastfeeding. Start by offering the straw cup for one or two feedings a day, and gradually increase the frequency until your baby is primarily using the straw cup.

Step 10: Monitor Progress

Keep a close eye on your baby’s progress. Ensure they are getting enough fluids and are not becoming dehydrated during the transition. If you have concerns, consult with your pediatrician for guidance and reassurance.

Step 11: Be Prepared for Setbacks

It’s common for babies to experience setbacks during the transition process. They may become frustrated or revert to their old feeding habits. If this happens, don’t get discouraged. Simply take a break and try again later. Persistence and patience are key.

Step 12: Maintain a Positive Environment

Creating a positive and supportive environment is essential throughout this process. Avoid pressure or force, as this can lead to resistance. Make mealtime a pleasant experience by sitting together, talking, and offering praise for efforts.

Step 13: Gradual Weaning

Once your baby has successfully transitioned to using a straw cup, you can gradually wean them from it as they grow older. Start by introducing an open cup alongside the straw cup, encouraging your baby to sip from both. Eventually, your child will become proficient with an open cup.


Teaching your baby to drink from a straw is a rewarding journey that enhances their oral motor skills, independence, and overall development. With the right equipment, patience, and a positive approach, you can help your baby make a smooth transition from breastfeeding or bottle-feeding to straw cups. Remember that every baby is unique, and progress may vary. Be flexible, stay supportive, and enjoy this important milestone in your baby’s life. Cheers to happy and successful sipping!