By: Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
This week I am jumping on board with the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and talking about staying away from sippy cups. This week, ASHA featured a fabulous blog post written by Melanie Potock, M.A., CCC-SLP. See ASHA for the original post: http://blog.asha.org/2014/01/09/step-away-from-the-sippy-cup/
The issue of using sippy cups with kids is something that is so important to talk about, yet is rarely brought up. Most parents introduce sippy cups to their children as they transition away from the bottle. Sippy cups can be a convenient and clean way for children to drink throughout the day without spilling everywhere. However, they don’t promote the continued oral-motor development of the jaw, lips and tongue to required for feeding and speech. Infact, as Melanie pointed out in her article, they were merely developed as a way to keep messes to a minimum but oral-motor skills were not considered!
When drinking from a bottle or a sippy cup the jaw, lips and tongue move together to suckle the liquid out. This doesn’t allow the tongue, jaw and lips to learn to move separately, which is an integral part of clear speech. The spout of the sippy cup also restricts tongue movement to a front-back suckle movement, which may later impact swallowing patterns. Children who use the sippy for prolonged periods of time without enough exposure to straws or open cups may be at risk for speech/articulation disorders and a possible difficulty with swallowing.
Instead of sippy cups, children should be encouraged to drink out of open cups or cups with straws. Fortunately for parents, there are some great straw cups that are mostly spill-proof. Here are a few of my favorites that I have used with my own daughter:
Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw Cup
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