Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When Should My Child Transition to an Open Cup?

We are often asked: 
  •  “When should my child drink out of a regular cup?”
  • “My child will make a mess with a regular cup. Do we really need to get rid of the sippy cup?”

Why Is It Important to Wean My Child to a Cup?

  • To help develop more advanced feeding skills.  Bottles/sippy cups facilitate forward tongue placement which can lead to a tongue thrust or a delay in oral motor skills such as tongue lateralization, munching, and rotary chewing.  Most children tend to suckle the sippy cup just like they would a pacifier or bottle.
  •  To help prevent difficulties with speech sound production.  As previously mentioned, bottles/sippy cups facilitate forward tongue placement which can affect back sounds and promote an interdentalized or lisped /s/.
  • To help prevent tooth misalignment. Prolonged use of the bottle/sippy cup may cause malocclusions that will need to be fixed in adolescence.  
  • To help prevent tooth decay, the American Dental Association recommends transitioning to a regular cup by your child's first birthday.

We suggest weaning to a straw cup or open cup because both help position the child’s tongue correctly for speech and help them develop the strength and coordination necessary to be a more successful communicator.  

  1.  Listed below are tips to promote straw drinking. If you child has difficulty drinking from a straw, use a Capri Sun or juice box. Gently squeeze the box/pouch to raise the liquid up the straw.  
  2. Remember, the shorter the straw, the less sucking effort required. You can cut off a regular straw to fit in a short cup. This will be easier than a full sized straw.