Sippy cups are one of the many toddler cups on the market and you will have seen many kids drinking from them. But are they really a good idea for a 2 year old?
Well, the answer from speech therapists and dentists alike is a resounding ‘no!’
Sippy cups are not only a bad idea for a 2 year old, they’re a bad idea altogether at any age. The NHS recommends that children drink from an open cup or a cup with a free flowing lid - when you’re out and about a bottle with a straw is a good option too.
Cups with valves or sippy cups are not recommended. Open or free flowing cups allow your child to learn to use the muscles of the mouth correctly to sip and swallow, which is good for the progression to speech too!
It’s possible that sippy cups can affect speech and even cause a lisp. This is because they can interfere with the way the tongue would naturally sit and get in the way of the swallowing pattern.
Normally the swallowing pattern would be developed around the age of 1 year old - the tongue tip touches the roof of the mouth and propels the liquid to the back of the throat. A hard sippy cup interferes with this pattern and, if used a lot, stops the child practising swallowing liquids in the normal way.
So why would this affect speech development? The muscles that a child is developing when swallowing normally, using the tongue in the natural position, are also those needed for speech.
A sippy cup can encourage a child to rest their tongue in a more forward position in the mouth, which can cause difficulty pronouncing letters, words and even cause a lisp. So, if a sippy cup is used frequently, it can cause a lot of problems with speech.
Should a 2 year old still be drinking from a bottle?
By the age of 2 a child should certainly have given up the baby bottles! The NHS recommends that babies should have given up drinking from baby bottles by the age of 1 year. By then they are very capable of trying to drink from an open cup, free flowing cup or a cup or bottle with a straw if on the move.
Is drinking from a straw cup better than a sippy cup?
Speech therapists do recommend that drinking from a bottle with a straw as it is excellent for strengthening the lip muscles which are needed for speech - necessary for pronouncing hard consonant sounds like ‘m’, ‘p’ and ‘b’.
A straw cup is definitely a better option than a sippy cup! Your 2 year old will be working on the lip muscles by using a straw, as well as it being a convenient option if you’re out and about.
Sippy cups are really not a good option for any age of child and you should, without doubt, choose a straw cup rather than a sippy cup.
What can I use instead of a sippy cup?
An open cup like our silicone toddler cup or cup with a free flowing lid is the ideal for 2 year olds to drink from.
A cup with a straw is also a great alternative to a sippy cup. You can buy these with lids to make them very portable, just make sure that you can clean all the parts easily as bacteria can get caught in straws and lids that aren’t properly cleaned.
Adults too use bottles with straws at the gym, at work or just on the beach! Using a cup or bottle with a straw is a lifelong skill!
Minaym are developing a personalised water bottle with a straw - look out for this on our website!