Should I use a straw cup or a sippy cup?
When it is time for your child to transition from a bottle to a cup, consider what will be best for the development of your child’s oral structure, oral motor strength and movement, and speech development. The options that are available include various types of sippy cups, some with hard spouts and some with soft, or a straw cup. Of these two, a straw cup is the best choice when considering the aforementioned areas of development. A straw cup will help to build lip, cheek, and tongue strength and will promote an appropriate resting position of the tongue for future speech development and a proper swallow pattern. A sippy cup on the other hand will encourage a forward tongue resting position, which often results in a frontal lingual lisp. A frontal lingual lisp involves placing the tongue between the teeth for production of /s/ and /z/. This leads to the upper incisors being pushed forward by the tongue, often resulting in the need for braces in the future. Sucking on a sippy cup also encourages a tongue thrust swallow pattern that pushes the upper teeth forward and outward. This swallow pattern would have to be corrected through speech therapy before braces could be applied.
To teach your child to use a straw cup, you can make a honey bear straw cup, or one can be purchased from www.talktools.com. With this cup, you can lightly squeeze liquid up the straw for your child to drink until he/she learns how to do this independently. To make your own honey bear straw cup, you can buy honey in a plastic honey bear at your local grocery store. Purchase plastic tubing to be used as a straw. The honey bear lid can be removed or kept in place. It doesn’t matter. Remove the honey and sanitize the container. Fit the plastic tubing into the pour spout, and you are now ready to teach your child how to drink from a straw. The plastic tubing for the straw must be considered safe for oral usage. It can be purchased from Talk Tools at www.talktools.com/honey-bear-replacement-straw or you can try to find water tubing for refrigerators at a home improvement store.