Mealtime paraphernalia like the suction-bottomed plate and sippy cup were invented because eating with a baby is like eating with a trained orangutan. It’s equal parts cute, fascinating, nerve-wracking and an utter mess. The point — besides that Every Which Way But Loose was comedy gold, critics be damned — is that feeding gear like the sippy cup may be harmful to your baby, because it was made with parents in mind. Not babies. Babies couldn’t care less.
Invented sometime in the 1980s to help protect against spills, the leak-proof sippy cup became synonymous with childhood development. Thanks to clever marketing, a sippy cup has become a milestone in the transition from the boob to the juice glass.
But feeding specialists have since pointed out that sippy cups might be harmful to your kid’s development. Sippy cups tend to hang around far longer than necessary and their spouts continue to support a suckling type of feeding, which means your kid could be in kindergarten but essentially still have the swallowing pattern of an infant. In addition to inhibiting your kid from developing the “mature swallowing pattern” they need to start eating and drinking like the mature toddler they are, the cups are also often blamed for mouth injuries sustained when kids fall while using them.
Now that the experts have made it unequivocally clear that sippy cups seriously messed you up, parents need to find a new way to outsmart their kids, or maybe put a little effort into the whole child-rearing thing. Guess which option you’re about to be pitched!
Specialists suggest that mitigating the mess of transitioning your kid from breast or bottle to open cup can be done by holding the cup as they learn to sip. That process should begin around the time they start cruising the furniture. Don’t want to manage thirst that deeply? Straw cups, or, you know, straws, are a reasonable tradeoff. Just make sure the straw must be short enough that your child can’t anchor their tongue under it when drinking (and that your baby feeding gear is chemical-free).
With some attention and a bit more effort, your kid will have an age-appropriate feeding style and they’ll be knocking back nightcaps with you in no time. Like the cutest little trained orangutan you could ever have hoped to father.