If you’re anything like I was, the belief that giving babies sippy cups was the way to go. My thoughts were that it was an easy way for babies to drink, with less mess and a lot of ease. These types of cups are what most parents think about for babies. It wasn’t until I started doing research into designing my own sippy cup that I realised there’s really not much of a developmental need for them. I discovered how important it is to give your baby an open cup from an early age instead.
A lot of research suggests that you should introduce an open cup to your baby at 6 months of age. Among so many things, it teaches them drinking skills along with eating skills.
There are 3 main types of cups that are on the market for babies and kids today:
1. Sippy Cups
2. Straw Cups
3. Open Cups
I am going to briefly go into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these below.
In addition to what I mentioned earlier about these, there are many that aren’t recommended by Dentists as they can cause dental problems. They have been known to be the cause of speech and oral developmental issues later on. The spout pushes on your child’s teeth as they suck. Many doctors say this can lead to crooked teeth, tooth decay, and possibly even speech problems!
The only great thing about them is they prevent spills.
Better than sippy cups from a developmental perspective because the straw allows your baby to form a proper suction movement with their lips. However, there are many straw cups that your baby has to bite to get the water out of, and this can cause an improper drinking position. Straw Cups can be a bit of a pain to clean, with all the different parts you need to dismantle and clean individually. Mold has known to grow in these parts really easily.
Straw Cups are recommended when you go out and need to put a cup in your bag. Most prevent spills which is why the are useful.
Drinking from an open cup is an important skill to have – so teaching your baby to drink from one at the beginning of their weaning journey is key. It can help them develop important skills, such as oral motor skills. It is also easier to transition off the bottle around 12 months of age. The ability to drink from a real cup also helps your baby gain mastery over their mouth muscles, while fostering fine motor skills and coordination.
They are also easy to clean!
Here are 3 top tips on open cup training:
- Hold the cup for your baby and tip it for them. The goal is for them to take a sip and swallow it. Once they get the hang of this they can then start holding it themselves. Practice with a shot glass or medicine cup amount of water/milk a day. The key is to have practice sessions each day with an open cup. It takes patience by you but well worth it later on.
- Make the cup special – colourful, soft to touch and to place to their mouth.
- Drink with you baby – show them how it’s done. They love to copy us and will learn so much from observing.
Kids of all ages can handle a lot more than we give them credit for. When they are 6 months old and haven’t formed any bad habits yet, teaching them the proper skills to drink from an open cup will save you time and frustration later on when they have already formed improper drinking habits.
If sippy cups have become your go to, don’t worry that your child has missed a milestone. You can still make the transition to the open cup, and your child will pick it up in no time.
Our brand new Grab Cups will be available soon – made from firm, 100% silicone that is soft to touch and available in two fun colours!