There seems to be a lot of different messages about weaning around the country which is interesting (and maybe a little worrying that the latest information isn't reaching all health services) but something that was encouraged in London was to put babies straight onto open cups when weaning. The means no straws, sippy cups or 'miracle cups' - just a straight, basic cup. I was even given a funky leaflet entitled 'Cool Babies Use Cups' and my little lady is indeed very cool so we clearly had to give it a go! The thought behind the move to open cups is that it is much better for their teeth and teaches them to drink properly (which they will have to learn one day anyway). It is a bit messy and you need to be prepared for lots of spillages but, for us, it was only a little water and I don't mind if that hits the floor.
In the months leading up to weaning I noticed Aoife became really interested in the glass of water I always have to hand. When she was on my lap and seemed to be asking for a sip I let her so, as we had started this way, I didn't hestiate in buying a Babycup. I had become aware of them when they won a Junior Design Award in 2014 (and they have won many other awards) and liked the fact that they are non-toxic and dishwasher safe with no tricky places germs could harbour. I did go out and get a miracle cup as well, I thought it would be useful, especially for trips out, but as mess-free cups use a different technique for getting the liquid out I didn't want to confuse her, I just keep a firm hold on the cup. So my advice is don't buy any other form of cup so that you avoid the temptation. In this, and all things, I think it's good to keep it simple.
After six months I am so glad I introduced Aoife to the cup. At the beginning I filled it slightly and held it to her mouth to drink, and if she brought her hands to it I'd let her fiddle with the cup even if it meant water spilling. I think it's good for her to learn the consequences of certain actions with the cup - if you put your fingers in it you get wet etc. If it was on the side she quickly learnt to point to it when she wanted some water and I just needed to keep it topped up. When Aoife was nine months old I did begin to think that she would never pick the cup up herself and certainly wouldn't be able to successfully bring it to her mouth - but then one day I just let her have a go and she did it. I was so proud! By the time she turned one she was an absolute pro and even set it back on the table - sometimes she forgets that she's holding it and we have a spillage but, to be honest, most accidents happen because I've put too much water in the cup.
My top tip, however, is to sometimes give your baby milk in the cup, as well as water. I didn't and now I'm struggling to get her to drink milk at all. I'm not entirely sure why as she drinks water like a camel at an oasis but offer her milk and you get a raspberry in your face and the cup shoved across the table (and milk on the floor is much more annoying that water!).