Just about any pediatric speech-language pathologist will tell you straw sippy cups are WAY better than spouted sippy cups for oral-motor development! The spouted cup requires children to use a sucking pattern similar to how they drink from their bottle whereas a straw sippy cup requires a more mature sucking pattern and engages more muscles in the front of the mouth. Toning these muscles will help your little one build the strength and coordination required to eat wider variety of textures and begin speaking.
Not to mention it can be a lifesaver when you’re out and realize you forgot to throw a bottle or sippy cup in the diaper bag!
Most babies can learn to drink through a straw by the time they’re 9 months old, and some can learn months earlier! And the best part is that it hardly takes any time to teach them! When our little guy turned 7 months, we worked on this for less than 15 minutes 2 days in a row and he had it down!
So now that we know why it’s important, and what a small time commitment it is let’s teach your little one how to do it! All you need is a straw and a cup of water…and keep in mind your child will probably get wet!
To start dip the straw about 1/2 inch into the water.
Place your thumb over the top end of the straw and hold it there as you remove the straw from the cup. This should keep the water in the straw.
Hold the straw to your baby’s mouth. When your baby opens, lift your thumb to release the water into your baby’s mouth. Give your baby a chance to swallow.
After repeating that a couple of times, your baby should begin to anticipate the water coming. So hold the straw to your baby’s mouth and wait until they begin to suck to release the water.
Again repeat that a couple of times, then move the straw into the cup and let your baby attempt to drink from it. You’ll likely have to hold the straw steady for your baby. And remember this is a new skill for your little one so only allow your baby to take one sip at a time.
If your baby is having trouble getting the liquid all the way up the straw, try using a taller glass and submerge the straw deeper in the water to make it a little easier.
Your little one may cough once or twice during this process and that is totally normal! If he or she is coughing more than that they may not be ready for straw drinking yet- I’d recommend trying again in a few weeks!
Have you tried straw drinking with you baby or toddler yet? Like this post or leave a comment, I’d love to hear how it went!