Baby drinking from a small cup

Bottoms up! What’s in a cup?

Here's what to use - instead of a sippy cup.

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;

  1. The tip of the tongue has to rise to touch behind the top front teeth,
  2. The sides of the tongue have to rise forming a slight bowl shape.
  3. 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:

Our Early Learning Program works with families to support mealtime skills including learning to drink from a cup. Call us for more information!

Prince of Wales (907) 826-3891 or Ketchikan (907) 225-7825

Kristin Coffin, OT

Kristin Coffin is a Developmental Specialist III at Community Connections. She is registered and licensed as an Occupational Therapist.

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