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The Importance of Bottle Refusal at 6 Months - Expert Insights

Kellie Eason, Advanced Practice IBCLC. BHSc. (Nursing), Post. Grad. Dip in Midwifery

MILK...early parenting support, Melbourne, Australia

Baby open cup drinking
Baby drinking from an open cup

If your 6-month-old baby is refusing to bottle-feed, it usually means they are communicating an important sign - that they may be ready for cup feeding!

Cup feeding can help babies exercise their tongue and lips and learn to shape their tongue to hold and control their drink for safe swallowing.

Starting with an open cup that holds small volumes of water, breast milk, or formula can help set your baby up for successful cup feeding.

I recommend starting with a small volume weighted open cup with handles (e.g. 50-100ml fluid capacity). Although I’m not sponsored by this company, I highly recommend checking out the Sippy Skillz Baby Cup by Weanmeister

Open cup feeding is a developmental skill that requires patience, consistency, repetition, and support. It helps to form neural pathways and improve a child's ability to perform the skill with practice. The nervous system experiences sensory stimulation through the process of seeing, feeling, and tasting from the cup and moving oral, facial muscles and joints, which helps to balance these senses.

It takes patience, consistency, repetition, and support to master this new developmental skill of drinking from an open cup. So offer your baby the opportunity to cup feed as often as possible.

To help your baby learn to drink from an open cup, set them upright in their high chair, hold the cup to their lips, tip it slightly, and watch them lap up the liquid with their tongue.

With practice, most babies are able to drink from a cup independently by their first birthday.


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

At MILK early parenting support, I strive to be your go-to source for all your parenting needs – from pre-birth to post-birth. I'm a passionate and experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I love empowering expectant and new parents with all the knowledge and support they need to make the right decisions for their family.

Whether it’s helping you find the best feeding and sleeping strategies, or ensuring that your baby is getting the nutrition they need for optimal growth, I'm here to make sure that you and your baby get the best start in life.

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