I’m often asked about the best brand of feeder cups for toddlers who are almost finished with their baby bottles. My answer is always the same: the best drinking vessels for children over the age of one are open, non-lidded cups – yes, just the same shape as the ones you use!
Baby bottles and also dummies (or pacifiers) should really be discarded by the time your child is 12 months of age. This may sound like an impossible feat to achieve but a great deal of evidence suggests this is the right thing to do. With a bit of practice a child can get the hang of open cups – I have seen whole nursery classes of one year olds take just a few weeks to get used to the change.
5 reasons to throw out the bottles and dummies when your child is one….
1. Nutrition: By the age one one children only need 1 pint of milk a day. Swapping to an open cup can encourage less milk and more food – really useful for fussy eaters.
2. Speech development: Children who use bottles and dummies beyond one are more likely to have problems pronouncing certain words – the constant sucking means certain muscles over develop; and speaking while the dummie is in the mouth is unavoidable, but again means sounds are not pronounced the way they should be.
3. Language development: All-day sucking also doesn’t give your child the opportunity to express themselves and discover new words.
4. Dental health: Teeth do not form so well if there’s a bottle or dummie in the way. Also, milk and other drinks containing sugars are more likely to stick to teeth when sucked from a bottle and thereby increasing the risk of tooth decay. Beakers with a spout or a sports bottle also mean drinks are ‘sucked’.
5. Middle-ear infections: Children who suck, rather than gulp and swallow a bolus at once, are more likely to suffer from middler ear infections as their eustachian tubes don’t get a full clearance that occurs when drinks are taken from an open cup.
If you need any help changing your child over to an open cup, feel free to email me with your queries and I’ll publish my answers in the FAQ section on this website.