Bottles, spout, sippy and baby cups - there are so many to choose from but how do you know which one is best for your baby?
Drinking from both a cup and a straw helps to develop oral motor skills for mature swallowing, minimises the risk of dental issues and assists in speech development. Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) “Eat for Health Program” recommends offering babies a small amount of boiled and cooled tap water from 6 months of age. The guidelines suggest at the same time to introduce cup drinking for skill development.
As mums, Speech Pathologists and Feeding Therapists, one of our favourite straw cups to introduce to babies is the b.box Straw Sippy cup. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, we were invited by b.box to share 10 things we like about it.
1. a straw for oral motor development
Over approximately 2 years, babies develop complex skills of eating and drinking. Drinking from a straw is one of these skills. We like the b.box straw sippy cup because it is short and flexible. Rather than anchoring the tongue to the bottom of the mouth like a wide, firm spout would, it allows for babies to suck on it at the front of their mouth so they can lift their tongue and develop a mature swallow.
2. a thin straw for swallowing safety
The thin straw allows babies to practise drinking without being flooded with water. A thin straw ensures that while babies learn just how hard to suck, a smaller amount of water comes up the straw. A smaller amount of water helps your baby to coordinate their breathing and swallowing and this means less spitting, coughing, and choking.
3. handles for independent drinking
From around 9 months of age, babies start asserting their independence. They will prefer to feed themselves and drink without help. The handles make it easier for babies to bring the cup to their mouth while they are developing their fine and gross motor skills.
4. weighted straw for learning open cup drinking and straw cup drinking concurrently
When teaching straw and open cup drinking skills concurrently, babies may tilt the straw cup, like they would an open cup. The weighted straw allows babies to tilt the bottle and still be able to drink the water.
5. lightweight for independent learning
It’s easy for little learners to grasp and lift independently, plus it won’t weigh mum or dad down when on the go.
6. easy to flip lid for easy to access liquids
The easy to flip lid ensures older babies can have access to water on their own, building their self-regulation and independence skills.
7. no leaks or spills for stress free parenting
The b.box straw sippy cup is designed to be leak free so when your baby tips it, it doesn’t pour out. It is handy to be able to throw it in your bag and not worry about it spilling
8. easy to clean for a healthy baby
The b.box sippy straw cup can be pulled apart for thorough washing, dishwashing, and sterilising to ensure the cup stays germ free and hygienic. We encourage parents to purchase a straw cleaner to avoid any additional germ build up. We also keep a few replaceable straws to avoid excess cost and environmental waste.
9. the training cup lid fits to the straw cup for additional drinking practise-
The training cup lid provides another opportunity to develop oral motor skills for eating, drinking and speaking. It can be screwed onto the sippy cup base and offers free flow drinking through a small slit in the rim that funnels liquid. Again, the versatility reduces excess cost and environmental waste.
10. fun designs for happier mealtimes
The cups come in different colours and some have characters to excite growing babies and encourage conversation and learning through play.