Friday, November 18, 2011

Bottles and Sippy Cups and Straws...Oh My

Bottles and sippy cups and straws...oh my! With so many different drinking choices, what's a mom to choose? I mainly breastfed my little one until his first birthday. He had the occasional bottle during that time, but mostly it was me he was feeding from. So luckily I didn't have to think too much about our choice of drinking vessel.  We were told the next step was the sippy cup. Now comes the choices! I had received a couple as shower gifts and then bought a couple other brands myself until I found the one that produced the least amount of spills for me to clean up, The Playtex brand sippy cup. I also purchased a Playtex cup that had a straw just to see how he did with that. What I found was that when I gave him the sippy cup he ended up drinking more. The straw cup always led to leftover milk. So I naturally steered away from these a bit because I wanted to make sure he was getting well hydrated. As someone who does not like drinking water herself, remembering to give my little one water was something I had to work on. 

Recently I took a course called, Enhancing Language Development, in order to keep up my teaching certification. In an article I read about the development of the muscles in the mouth I learned that moving to a regular cup or straw helps a child's lips, tongue, and jaw muscles develop. These muscles need to be strengthened in order to successfully produce many of the speech sounds. When drinking from a sippy cup, the liquid often comes out more quickly.  The tongue moves forward to stop the flow so the child can swallow. Maybe this won't be detrimental, but without properly strengthening those muscles, speech issues could occur. I certainly don't think that children who drink from sippy cups are destined to speak with a lisp. But if using a straw can help to set him up for successful speech I might as well start to incorporate it more and more.  Now drinking from a normal cup would produce the same positive sucking as the straw cup, but I'm just not ready to clean up all those spills. Maybe we'll practice that outside next summer. 

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