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Yes, babies can drink from a cup!

cup feeding close up

There are quite a few reasons why you might feed your baby from a cup. 

  • You are giving your baby small amounts of breastmilk or colostrum. 

  • You and your baby are separated for a period of time. 

  • You need to give your nipples time to heal. 

  • Your baby is refusing to breastfeed.

  • Your baby has a minor cleft of lip and/or palate

  • To provide top-ups of expressed breastmilk or formula if needed. 

  • You normally feed your baby by bottle but are in a situation where you can't safely clean feeding equipment (eg you have no power or no clean water). A cup is more easily cleaned than a bottle and teat. 

What sort of cup do I use?

Small open cups are safest and can be cleaned easily. 'Sipper' lids and straws are suitable if your baby is older but without access to hot water, they aren't easy to clean well.   

Getting help

When you start out, it’s a good idea to ask a child health nurse or lactation consultant to watch you to help ensure you learn how to cup-feed safely. It may feel awkward at first, but with practice cup-feeding gets easier. 

Older babies and toddlers 

Older babies or toddlers may accept expressed breastmilk from a cup. Many different sizes and types of cups are available - sippy cups, no-spill cups and cups with a straw (or with a built-in straw). You can experiment to see what works best for you and your baby/toddler. 



© Australian Breastfeeding Association April 2022