🥤Did you know that teaching your child to drink out of a straw cup is a great way to develop better strength and coordination with their lips and tongue?
🥤When teaching your child to drink from cups, we highly recommend first working on a straw cup! One of the ways that we teach little ones to drink from straws is by starting with purees in the cup mixed with another age-appropriate liquid (e.g., breastmilk, formula etc). By thickening, this helps littles get used to the quicker flow of liquids coming from a straw. As they become more skilled, we gradually wean the puree out of the cup until it is only liquid!
🥤We love many different straw cups, but often use the Honey Bear Cup by @talktoolstherapy in our therapy sessions
💧 One of our other favorite strategies to use is introducing liquids via small, open cups. They are just the right size for your little!
💡 You can start teaching this skill as early as six months! That recommendation is based on if your child has shown readiness, interest in cups, and is currently medically stable. If that doesn’t apply to your little at this time, that’s ok, we will get there!
✅ We actually recommend teaching open cup drinking as their first official cup experience. It offers a lot of benefits including development of oral motor skills!
🥛 When we first introduce liquids from an open cup, we choose to present them as more of a smoothie mixture. This slows the liquid down so your little isn’t getting too much all at once! After all, when you’re first starting off they are still learning about how to handle all of that liquid. We might mix a small amount of water with a preferred purée to achieve that smoothie texture.
🥛 When you are teaching your little one to drink from an open cup, make sure to model it yourself!
🥛 When presenting the cup, we tend to help a little extra at first by giving a little support to their chin as they learn.
🥛 As they continue to progress, you can gradually decrease the thickness of the liquid and the amount of support you’re giving.
❓Hands up if you’re working on open cup drinking in your household?
Please note there are many reasons you may use a different cup than a straw or open cup and that is okay too! Please work closely with your feeding therapist and medical team for your little ones individual needs! Further, please introduce cups at your own discretion. If you have any questions about your child’s readiness, please feel free to message us!