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Oct 15th, 2021

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Skipping the Sippy Cup – Go Straight to a Tiny Open Cup for Your Baby

Most Parents know that you should wean your little one off of bottles by 18 months (Per the American Academy of Pediatrics).  But what should you go to after a bottle?  A lot of parent gravitate towards sippy cups, I mean why not, most every parent gives their baby a sippy cup after bottles, easy to use, no messes and they are advertised as the best alternative.  But did you know that sippy cups can be detrimental to your little one’s speech, language and feeding development?  Sippy cups were designed as a product to solve parent’s frustrations, not as the best cup for babies and here are some reasons why you should skip the sippy.

Swallow Patterns

For the first year of their life a baby has what is considered an immature swallow pattern, one where they suckle and move their tongue forward and backward to draw milk from a breast or bottle into their throat.  After the first year their swallow pattern starts to mature by means of their tongue typically rising to the roof of their mouth to help propel new foods and textures to the back of the mouth.  Giving your child a hard spout sippy cup results in their tongue being unable to move up into this crucial position and can result in difficulties in chewing and swallowing new foods.

Speech Development

As mentioned above, when you give your child a sippy cup, you are impeding their ability to put their tongue in the position (the tongue raised behind the front teeth) that is naturally occurring as they develop.  This not only results in the potential eating issues, but can raise issues with normal speech development as well.  Until your baby can learn to develop a more mature swallow pattern it will continue to affect their speech development and this is one of the reasons to skip the sippy.

Alternatives

Now that we have covered why you shouldn’t necessarily use a sippy cup, here are some of the alternatives you can take a look at.

Straw Cups

These can be a great tool to transition from a bottle, and using a straw can even sometimes lead to better speech development due to the lip motions required when using a straw!

Open Cup

This is the option we recommend the most.  Most people think that their baby cannot use an open cup, that they will spill it, that they will throw it.  And yes this may be the case as you first teach them how to use an open cup, but most parents will be surprised as just how quickly their baby can learn to develop the skill of using an open cup.

Things to look for in a cup

Tiny Cup Size – You want to start small, your baby is just learning how to use an open cup so there will be messes, so minimize the mess.  Also little hands are tiny!  Go for a baby sized cup that is easy for your baby to handle, some type of feature to grip it is even better, like our ridges on our silicone cup!

Soft Materials – Normal cups can be hard on little gums.  Think about it, your baby is uncoordinated and is going to eventually accidently bump themselves with the cup, so avoid metal, glass, or hard plastic cups to start.  The best material is to use a silicone cup.  Not just any silicone will do though either, too many manufacturers use cheap silicones with fillers, make sure you test the silicone with the pinch test.  Our cup only uses 100% food grade silicone and is one of the only tiny silicone cups made right here in the USA.

Your little one can start to practice with an open cup starting at 6 months of age, this is the point when they typically have the needed oral motor skills to start sipping from an open cup.  So go ahead and start having them practice using a tiny open cup early and once they hit the 12 month mark they will be more than ready to skip the sippy!