Wednesday, June 9, 2010
To Sip, Suck or Drink
Sippy cups with soft tops, with hard tops, with tiny holes, with one big hole. Stainless steel, BPA-free, toxic plastic. Straw cups, juice boxes.
What do you use? Why? Do you want a cup that won't spill all over the back seat? Want a cup that is almost just like a bottle? Need Dora, Diego, Elmo or Mickey?
Does it matter?
What matters most is that you introduce a cup, usually a sippy, straw or open cup (with assistance) starting between 6 months and 9 months. It will be messy. It will be ineffective BUT if you want to wean from the bottle or breast at about a year or just have another way to offer fluids to your breastfed baby, you need to introduce the cup.
Water is the best fluid to start with. Some kids just don't want to drink what they get from the breast or bottle in a cup, so you can wait until they learn the cup before giving milk. If you start with a sippy cup, babies often get confused about sucking from a cup. Just take out that sucking piece from the sippy cup or buy one without the piece. Despite the plethora of sippy cup choices, there is no one best cup and actually kids don't even need them to learn to drink but they are a convenience and DO allow your child to be more independent with drinking.
How about a straw? These are great for kids who may be having some trouble managing thin liquids, kids who cough often when drinking even small amounts of water (we all have trouble when we take TOO big a sip.) If your older infant or child, does cough most of the time with even small amounts of thin liquids, talk to your physician or other health care provider. Kids need to have the skills to close their lips around a straw and sometimes those larger straws with straw cups work well.
Open cup? These are great to use. Every notice how your infant is interested in whatever you are drinking? If it is not soda, beer, wine, mixed drinks or coffee- share a sip. It is a great way to introduce a cup. I love little shot glasses! They are the perfect size for little hands to practice and often have lobsters, cowboy hats or state flags on them (what could be more enticing on your cup!)