Friday, October 5, 2012

How to and not to introduce a cup.

This link is to a recommended article about cup drinking from one of my favorite writer-mothers at Down wit Dat. I have never met her in person but follow her blog about raising 3 children including twins, one of whom has Down Syndrome. As I worked as an occupational therapist in an early intervention program, I love that she appreciates what we try to do in a lot of her posts. But she is also a nurse and and very informed about Down Syndrome as well as an entertaining writer. Even if you do not know anyone with Down Syndrome, you can appreciate her descriptions of life in the Logan home. This one includes the recommended "ideal" for cup training and the real life truth. The picture is from her blog.
As to cup drinking, I have noticed that there is very little choice in cups these days. If you want a cup that does not leak or spill dramatically, you have to get a spouted sippy cup. There are many brands of these and the spouts vary from soft to hard and in size. I have never liked sippy cups and my children did not either. Neither of them used a bottle on a regular basis and so they were not used to the bottle nipple style of drinking. Sippy cups are not really that different than drinking from a bottle.
The cup I used was by Tupperware. It had a heavy bottom so it stood upright if dropped and two handles for baby to hold onto. The real treasure of the cup was that it had a fitted indented lid with 3 small holes on each side. This held the liquid in but released it when the cup was tipped into the mouth. The children drank in the same way that we all drink out of a cup but did not have to deal with a flood of liquid and I did not have to deal with liquid everywhere. Milk, water and juice could be drunk from the cup in a reasonable time, like a mealtime. I looked for this cup on the market recently and did not find it but am happy to see the cup pictured above. It works on a similar principle though the cap looks a little more complicated that the old Tupperware ones I had.
As pointed out in the original article, it is not the cup (nor even the bottle) that causes tooth decay. It is the contents. Since no spill cups don't spill, it is easy to give it to baby and let him walk around with his cup. It that cup contains anything but plain water, he is bathing his teeth in sugar (even from milk) all day long and that is what decays the teeth. The cups may be related to displacement of the teeth which may require braces down the line especially those with firmer spouts. This would be the case if the cup is used extensively and for a long period of time. The idea is to move to regular cups as soon as your child is able to. Not all 2 year olds can handle drinking from a regular cup and may need some control.

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