Did you know that sippy cups are not actually part of early childhood development?  Say whaaaaaat!?  I know, our minds were blown too when we first learned this.

So let’s dig in a little more.  Sometimes sippy cups are necessary.  Your child’s daycare may require them once your child enters a toddler classroom.  Sometimes they are gifted to you or it’s all you have.  This is okay!  This post is not meant to make you suddenly freak out or beat yourself up about the fact that your child has probably been using sippy cups.  What this post is aimed to do though, is highlight some misconceptions about cups and development, and give you some other options of spill-proof (or nearly spill proof) cups that are more developmentally appropriate.  

Did you know that you can start teaching cup skills at 5-6 months of age?  You might notice that your child is trying to grab at cups or bottles you have and pull them to their mouth.  This is a sign of readiness.  They are ready to explore.  That does not mean that you have to cut bottles of breastfeeding!  You can continue breastfeeding or bottle feeding while also allowing for skill development and exploration at this age.This does not mean we are taking away milk, but that they are learning to take the milk from other devices than the breast or bottle.  (Feel concerned about this?  Have more questions?  Call us!)

Teaching a baby to drink from a straw:
  1. Cut the straw in half
  2. Dip straw in cup of preferred liquid 
  3. Suction liquid up into straw 
  4. Drop liquid into their mouth 
  5. Say “take a sip” each time 
  6. Model lip closure to them 
  7. Teach a sucking motion 

The baby will learn the liquid came from the straw!

      8. Make sure the straw is NOT long enough to lay flat on their tongue, only touches lips! The straw touching the tongue will prevent your baby from developing a mature swallow pattern

Check out our Amazon page for therapist recommended transition cups!

Click Here for Cups!

Why we DO NOT want continued bottle or inappropriate sippy cup usage:

  • If a bottle is continued to be used longer than 12-15 months or a sippy cup with a hard spout and promotes continued front to back sucking motion the child is at risk of developing an orofacial myofunctional disorder
    • An open bite, forward tongue posture, open mouth posture, or bimaxillary protrusion
  • Birth -1: it is normal to have a front to back sucking motion
    • After that, a mature swallow pattern develops and we really want to support that in our children
      • This will also help them develop the ability to eat more advanced textures! 

If your child would benefit from orofacial myofunctional therapy, check our this webpage to learn more or click here (for Cary) and here (for Durham) to fill out an initial inquiry form to set up a free consultation call!  We have therapists at our Durham and Cary location who would love to be part of your team!


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