“I tell my friends and parents, sippy cups were engineered for parents not for children.” Learn more about how to transition your child from sippy cups to straws with Sonu!
Presenter: Presented by: Sonu Sanghoee, MS,CCC-SLP – Related Services Clinical Director
I’m a speech language pathologist and today I’m here to share certain strategies and recommendations on how to help children transition from bottle to actually straw drinking, and to steer away from sippy cups, and why as speech pathologists, we don’t recommend using sippy cups. I tell a lot of my friends and parents, sippy cups were engineered for parents, not for children.
Switching to Straws from Sippy Cups
When children are 12 months of age, the motor skills are improving a lot. Similarly, are their oral motor skills. The mouth muscles are also gaining a lot of momentum because they can do a lot of stuff. So, what does the bottle drinking do? If the bottle has a nipple on the bottle, they actually inculcate or teach children to start using the tongues as an infant pattern where they’re sucking and swallowing, where the tongue tends to lay in the front of the month.
When to transition
And if we transition right away to a sippy cup, which is just actually like a bottle, it has a spout. So, they have learned the same activity from the bottle drinking to a sippy cup. So, not providing children with lot of motor movements for the mouth, wherein the tongue could be raised or elevated, where they could feel the tongue in the mouth.
So, instead of replacing the bottle with a sippy cup, as speech pathologist, I highly recommend and tell the parents or the friends that I meet, to use the sippy cup that doesn’t have a spout, but actually has a straw.
Benefits of switching to straws
There’s a general, I want to say, a myth or probably general taboo, that children have to be three years, or they cannot take straws, or they can’t probably control a straw if they are so young. You’ll be surprised what the mouth muscles can do.
Improve motor skills
Take a look at it around 12 months, children are transitioning away from pureed or ground textures to start taking soft chewables. That means children already have the pattern to be able to move the tongue, elevate, bite, and chew. So, why wait until three years to introduce the straw and keep on giving children these sippy cups?
The other thing, as a speech pathologist, the sippy cup does, is it makes your mouth go like, I’m going to make a gesture here like a fish’s pout. So, what happens is your teeth start over jutting, and that may not be a good thing for a child. So, much better, introduce those sippy cups, but with a straw.
Alternative bottle types
There are other things which are very nice for children. There’s the Honey Bear bottle, where the children can squeeze on the bellybutton. It has a straw, and they can control the amount of liquid that comes out.
So, the new parents don’t have to worry about having spillage and the straw can be also closed off. And there are other things. Something called a Sip-Tip cup. Sip-Tip cup that I like looks like a regular take-away cup and it has a straw. On the lid, it has a small hole, which gives you the perfect action for a parent to control. So, when you close the hole and have the child stuck on a straw, the liquid is controlled as to how much liquid comes out. So, you can teach children to transition from bottle to straw drinking right away, or even to an open cup.