It is recommended to stop using a bottle around age 1 and unfortunately traditional sippy cups aren’t much better for oral motor skills or dentition. Using an open cup is recommended as much as possible but let’s be real, no one is open to potential spilled drinks at all times. Straw cups are great when you’re on the go and hoping to minimize spills.
Many babies will learn how to drink from a straw on their own. I recommend giving it a try around 5-6 months. If they don’t figure it out, there are a few things you can do. Offering them liquid from the back of a loaded straw while you hold your finger down on the top is a common strategy to offer small amounts. If that doesn’t work, I recommend using a cup you can squeeze. This could be a juice (or milk, coconut water, etc) pack/pouch or a special cup like the Honey Bear Cup. A less expensive option is The Take and Toss Straw Cups (usually can be found at Target or Amazon).
Squeeze a small amount of liquid into your child’s mouth and typically you will seem them respond by closing their mouth around the straw and sucking. In my experience, most children learn this way very quickly. But every child is different and if yours is not quite getting it, you can also provide support by putting your hand around their mouth (index finger on one cheek, thumb on the other cheek and middle finger under their chin). Keep practicing daily until they get it. Once they do, you can switch to a straw cup that is easier to close for on the go.
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