• 5 Reasons to Ease Up on the Use of Sippy Cup for Your Little One

    Did you know sippy cups is not actually an essential tool in child development?
    by Rachel Perez .
5 Reasons to Ease Up on the Use of Sippy Cup for Your Little One
PHOTO BY iStock
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends weaning a baby from the bottle when she is between 12 to 14 months. Developmental pediatrician Dr. Maria Michiko Caruncho Baloca, M.D., suggests starting the transition between 8 to 12 months.

    You can think of it this way: once your baby learn how to feed themselves and already has the coordination skill to hold a cup and drink from it, then he is ready to go from bottle to glass — but it doesn't mean it will be easier. It's why sippy cups can be seen as a lifesaver.

    There are a lot of kinds and types of sippy cups, often with two handles and a pout, but they're especially helpful to keep liquid in the cup and in your child's mouth, not on the table, chair, or the floor. But there's a growing concern among dentists about relying on a sippy cup too much. 

    More from Smart Parenting

    "I would caution parents to the over-use of sippy cups, and weigh the benefits of independence over the real risks of cavities, speech delays, and sabotaging meal times," pediatric occupational therapist Melissa R. Foster tells Fatherly.

    Here are the some of the reasons why many dentists, pediatricians, speech therapists, and occupational therapists are afraid using sippy cups for an extended period of time. 

    Sippy cups can disrupt your child's eating patterns.

    If your tot's sippy cup often contains juice, he's getting more sugar into his system, which will have him feeling full. That fullness can mean he will refuse to eat healthy regular meals and could become picky. 

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    A sippy cup may promote immature sucking.

    Speech-language pathologist and feeding specialist Melanie Potock, M.A., C.C.C,-S.L.P., explained that a baby should develop a more mature swallow pattern as he turns age 1, and over-use of hard sippy spouts and drinking exclusively from them may get in the way of this development. "When toddlers continue to use the infant swallow pattern, chewing and swallowing new foods can be challenging or messy at best," she wrote in her American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) blog

    More from Smart Parenting

    Sippy cups can hinder oral cavity development. 

    Dentist Dr. Mark Burhenne, D.M.D., explained in a Q&A that sucking from a sippy cup are not the same as feeding from a mother’s breast or even a bottle. Unlike sucking on a soft nipple that can adjust its shape as the baby sucks and swallows, sucking on a hard pout of a sippy cup can actually misshape the oral cavity and result in problems later in life like speech, airway, and sleep quality. 

    Sippy cups can impede speech and language development. 

    "When a child uses a 'suckle-swallow' pattern past the developmental time frame of six to 12 months, his speech-language skills can’t migrate to more advanced skills until a more appropriate swallowing pattern is established," said Potock, who is also the author of Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids. It's similar to the effects in kids who are perennial thumbsuckers or continually sucking on a pacifier.

    Sippy cups can make falling accidents worse.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that in the U.S, sippy cups send about 2,200 toddlers per year to emergency rooms annually, primarily due to injuries suffered after falling with the lid in their mouths. A child who's just beginning to learn to walk with a sippy cup in their mouth is a disaster waiting to happen. 

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
    More from Smart Parenting

    If you're using sippy cups only during mealtime, or drinking water between meals, then there is no harm done. Over-using it is what makes it dangerous. Make sure your child only drinks from it and then sets it down as he goes about his business. 

    Unsure about your tot's sippy cup use? Potock suggests using drinking containers with pop-up straws. Once the child masters straw drinking, gradually cut down the drinking straw a few centimeters down until its tip reaches the mouth of a glass or cup. 

    You can also go for a cup with a lid that has a small opening, like coffee cup lids. As soon as your little one gets the hang of holding it upright and tilting it a bit when he drinks, you can try letting him use a cup without the lid. It can be messy, but your tot may benefit from it more than using a sippy cup.

    More from Smart Parenting

View More Stories About
View more articles