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By 12 months of age, toddlers should be drinking water and milk from a cup. Like learning to eat independently, learning to use a cup takes practice and can be messy.  

Drinking from a cup helps to develop your toddler's motor skills. Swapping from breast or bottle to cup also has benefits for health. It can lower the risk of: 

  • tooth decay 

  • ear infections 

  • iron deficiency  

 

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How to choose a cup 

Your toddler will be more likely to use their cup if they are involved in choosing it. Choose cups that: 

  • are not easy to break. 

  • have handles or are narrow enough to hold easily. 

  • do not have teats, valves or spouts that require sucking. 

  • are easy to wash. 

If using an open cup, fill it halfway to minimise spills as your toddler is learning.  

 

What should toddlers be drinking? 

Toddlers will lose water throughout the day, so it is important to replace this with lots of fluids. Water and plain milk are the best options. Toddler formula or follow-on milks are not necessary.  

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Tap water is free and does not need to be boiled before serving to toddlers. It also contains fluoride which helps to protect teeth from decay.  

Full fat milk is recommended for children under 2 years, and low fat for older toddlers and pre-schoolers. If choosing a milk other than cow’s milk, ensure that it contains added calcium. 

[Source: Australian Dental Association; NHMRC Eat For Health; Raising Children Network; NSW Health - Centre for Oral Health Strategy]   

 

 

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