Friday, October 29, 2010

Sippy Cups - Good, Bad or Ugly?

So I have a love-hate relationship with sippy cups. I personally believe that there is no reason for a child to ever use sippy cups as their full time cups. I understand that fluid requirements for a formula fed baby are a little different but a breastfed baby can get all of it's fluid from breastmilk directly up till about a year. After that point most children are very capable of using a regular cup. Of course this will depend on how often the mother nurses but generally speaking, if your baby is thirsty, just feel free to nurse him/her. But then there are a lot of moms out there who don't share this viewpoint or are not able/willing to let their baby nurse for thirst as well as hunger. Enter the sippy cup.

I'll start with some of the things that I don't like about them.
Speech issues: because of the way a baby/child sucks on the sippy, it hinders the proper movement and development of the jaw and tounge and can lead to speech delays and/or speech impediments. Kids who live with a sippy cup in their mouth are more likely to need speech therapy.
Cavities: when a baby/child drinks from a sippy cup the drink deposits on their teeth. It's very similar to the reasons that you should let your baby sleep with a bottle of anything other than water. Water in a sippy would be fine, milk is alright but walking around with juice or *gasp* pop! in a sippy should be no-nos.
Delayed cup skills: a baby/child (fyi: I say child because I know plenty of 4-5 year olds who still use sippies) using a sippy cup won't learn to use a normal cup as quickly. They don't learn that tipping causes spills and they can't control the flow of their drink as easily. Since they're not used to it, it's going to take them longer to use these skills. Yes, they will eventually learn but will they still be having issues when they hit kindergarden? Is that really the best time for a child to learn that a cup spills if they bump it? (This depends on how long the sippy cup is used of course.)

I will be honost, I REALLY don't like sippies. I have a couple that I started using with Caleb but he was drinking on his own from a cup at a year so we've never really had a big need for them. I also took the valves out so they were more just a cup with a pour spout (you don't suck the same way on a pour spout). Caleb is perfectly capable at 2.5 to drink from a regular cup. He can even drink while he's walking (I can't even do that, I need to stop walking)! He's very good about trying not to spill (though he's only 2.5 so sometimes he spills his drink, sometimes he spills mine, that's just life with a toddler). He only gets water when he wants to drink elsewhere than the table. He only gets a little bit of water when he wants to walk to the other room with it (less spill to clean up). Milk and tea stay at the table.

That being said, sippies can come in very handy. We've used them on car trips (mostly to the midwife) when we're driving and trying to do a meal at the same time. I put water or milk in it and he can put it in his cup holder or give it back to me. That way if we go over a bump or he drops it we're not dealing with a major spill in the car. I think that's pretty much the only time we use them. I could get a bottle with a spout that I know he will use just fine in the car (at this age anyway, maybe not a year ago) but I already had the cups in my house. Though he got frustrated with the lack of control over the flow so he stuck his finger through the holes in the spout.... not much of a sippy cup anymore lol! I'm still a big fan of cups with lids and spouts (Tupperware has some great ones) and I think that I'll buy some of those when the next baby hits that 1.5 - 2 year mark and decides he/she needs water in the car just because mama has her bottle.

So that's a bit of my thoughts on sippies. And now I'm off to have a nap... or maybe I'll read a bit... darn I just remembered I have to fold laundry before Caleb wakes up. The job of a mom is never done is it?

1 comment:

  1. Oh I'm so there. I know lots of little kids who use sippies like pacifiers. They can't survive without them. Then they can't get the concept of cups or even cups with straws. I think most people use them for convenience, cause you can give the kid a drink and forget about it. My 19 month old uses regular cups at the table and in the kitchen which is tiled, and uses a sippy of water in the car and at the grandparents (some times they give her tea). She likes to play with the water dispenser though so I end up with wet floors a lot. But she's a baby so I deal with it ya know.