What’s the Best Way for a Child to Learn How to Sip?
Magic – Just An Illusion and Maybe Confusion!!
(Or ‘What’s the best cup for weaning?!’)
School holidays in the Babycup household, so we did some market research this afternoon!
We know that little people need little cups – that’s obvious!
But we don’t rest on our laurels and we know it’s important that we check out new arrivals to the market.
So we picked up some of the new sippy cups that are being called ‘no-spill trainer cups’ and are being positioned ‘as if they are’ or ‘just like’ (please note those key words: ‘as if they are’ and ‘just like’ ) open cups, for ‘taking sips’ or ‘better for teeth’.
Well, the results were very interesting!
All our child-testers could not get a drop to begin with! So the adults tried and we all got around to figuring out how to make the plastic seal move to allow liquid out.
Once drinking was underway, we made some very important observations:
Despite supposedly being designed to be ‘like an open cup’ and with ‘no spout’, these cups do not act like open cups and they do not allow the user to drink from them like they would from an open cup. This is not a natural sipping action. A four year old tester actually pointed out that she was having to suck her drink to get it out of the cup!
And if anyone is ever concerned about how far a cup has to be tipped for a drink to come out, well, once these cups get low on liquid the tipping angle required for drinking is crazy!
What’s more, previously proficient open-cup sippers immediately failed when given a normal open cup after one of these as they had become used to their cup not being properly open. So in fact this ‘training’ device actually ‘untrained’ a very good natural sipping habit!
And these cups carry the warning that ‘prolonged sucking of fluids will cause tooth decay’. This wording is a legal requirement.
This wording is not needed on the Babycup packaging, because Babycup does not contribute to tooth decay.
With the ‘flanged’ or ‘valved’ ‘miracle-magic-wow-wee cups’, children will ‘learn how to get drinks out’, but we believe they won’t ‘learn how to drink’ (and that’s where it all falls down). For all intents and purpose it might look like the right thing is happening, but it really isn’t.
“Children will ‘learn how to get drinks out’,
but we believe they won’t ‘learn how to drink”
It would be easy for us parents to be fooled by what we think we’re seeing.
It’s a subtle, but big, difference.
A bit like a sippy cup isn’t usually in any way related to sipping!
In conclusion, our test reinforced what we know already.
An open cup, without a valve, a lid, a spout or a leak-proof seal, that is properly small for a small person’s mouth (i.e. not a cup that is almost as wide as an adult cup or the proportional equivalent of a child drinking from a bucket!) is by far the best for little ones learning to sip. Healthiest, easiest and not creating the need for gadgets and gizmos that are detrimental to health or which delay the learning of the recommended sipping action.
There may be times, such as on a long car journey, when you need a different option for giving a refreshing drink. But for every mealtime, keep it natural, keep it healthy and make it an ‘appropriately-sized mini open cup’ (sorry, that’s a bit wordy. Easier to say Babycup!).
Just like a balance bike, when children learn the skill with the scaled down simple version, they generally won’t need stabilisers when they move on to a fully-fledged version.
Babycup – it’s not big, but is clever. Just like your child!
Cheers to happy, healthy sipping that’s best for teeth, great for weaning and positive for your little one’s development!
(Mum to three very important little people
and Founder of Babycup – Little cups for little people)