Did you know that infants can learn to take single sips from an open cup at 5-6 months of age? This is amazing when we consider how many individual steps are involved to swallow liquids safely;
- The tip of the tongue has to rise to touch behind the top front teeth,
- The sides of the tongue have to rise forming a slight bowl shape.
- The tongue has to squeeze the liquid back in a controlled manner, with lips touching the cup.
These are just the initials steps to swallowing! Unfortunately, development of a mature swallowing pattern can be delayed by the use of sippy cups, which promote immature swallowing similar to bottle-feeding.
We recommend skipping the sippy cup!
There is no developmental reason for a child to learn to drink from a sippy cup. Instead, try a small open cup (a small medicine cup is great for teaching this skill), a straw cup, or a slow-flow cup. Here are a few of our favorites: