As They Grow: Just Say NO to Sippy Cups
Pediatric Interactions is a LLC partner. This post is part of their partnership with Little Lake County. Written by Lindsey Fry, MA, CCC-SLP/L and co-founder of WeeBits and Sarah Rosten, Clinical Director and Speech-Language Pathologist. All thoughts and opinions belong to the authors.
Just Say NO to Sippy Cups
When you walk into any local baby store you will probably find an entire wall filled with every possible type of cup imaginable you could use with your child. I recently received a panicked phone call from a friend that was putting together her baby registry asking what kind of cups she should place on her registration. She seemed very surprised when I recommended straw cups, and suggested she skip “sippy” cups altogether. Her response was, “I thought that using a sippy cup helped get kids off a bottle before they were ready for a real cup.” This appears to be a common misconception. It has become common practice that parents transition from a bottle/breast to a sippy cup, and then to a straw or open cup. “Sippy” cups have become a huge market and something that parents are lead to believe they need for their child. Here are four reasons why you should just say NO to the sippy cup.
- Supports speech development:Drinking from a sippy cup is essentially a hard bottle. This type of cup works when your child “suckles” bringing his/her tongue down and forward. Using a straw cup promotes a more mature “sucking” pattern which helps to support speech sound development. Straws also help to increase lip strength which is needed for some of the later developing sounds.
- One less transition:If you go straight from a bottle/breast to a straw cup, its one less thing you will need to wean your child from. This can be great, especially with those kiddos that have difficulty with these types of transitions.
- One less thing to bring with you: As parents of young kids, it’s hard enough to get out of the house on time without having to remember one more thing to put in your bag. Most place you go (e.g., restaurants, other people’s houses) will have either a straw and/or open cup available for your child to use. Who doesn’t want one less thing to remember?
- No-spill options available: I get it! Having two young kids I would sell my soul some days to not have to clean up one more thing!! Like the more traditional sippy cups, there are many “no spill” options available at your local retailer
Open cups are another great option when introducing cups to your little one. There is more mess that goes along with this one though. Here are some tips and trick for introducing an open cup:
- Use a small, firm cup. To be honest, I use the mini red solo cups. They hold up well and don’t hold much liquid. This makes it easy for small hands to hold on to, but allows them to hold the cup independently without squishing it like some of the paper cups.
- Practice in the bathtub or outside (when the weather is nicer) to minimize the mess.
- Fill the cup all the way up. Now I know this ones seems counter intuitive, but trust me it helps. It allows your child to feel the water on their upper lip and not have to tip the cup as far back.
- Speech/language pathologists help with eating/drinking, not just talking! For the month of February, send a video of your child drinking from a cup/straw and any questions you have to the therapists at Pediatric Interactions and we’ll give you some feedback. Videos can be sent to LindseyF@PediatricInteractions.com or posted on our FaceBook page. You can also schedule a FREE developmental screenings to have a therapists meet with you and your child.
Pediatric Interactions is a Speech and Language Clinic located in Grayslake and McHenry that supports independence and self-esteem using creative therapy approaches. Pediatric Interventions provides FREE developmental screenings, individual and group therapy, classes, workshops and other resources to help children better communicate.
WeeBits is a non-profit organization bringing awareness and guidance to those families with infants/toddlers who fall outside the boundaries of existing child developmental programs.