Did you know that until they are able to perform movements on their own, newborns are born with reflexes that help them feed? Within the first year of life or shortly after, the majority of these reflexes "integrate" or vanish. This makes it important to help develop their oral motor skills to enable them to control liquid flow and feeding.
Whether or not you continue to nurse during the toddler years, Dr Jessica Khong from Royce Orthodontic & Paediatric Dental Centre recommends weaning from the milk bottle between 12-18 months as prolonged use of milk bottle might impact jaw development and result in a persistent immature swallowing pattern. Bottle-feeding, especially to sleep at night, can also greatly increase the risk of decay, particularly to the upper front teeth. Prolonged bottle feeding might lead to crooked teeth, such as a posterior cross-bite or an anterior open bite.
Transiting from a milk bottle to a straw cup or open cup, allows your baby to practice using their face muscles, tongue, and soft palate, all of which are related to speech and feeding. Cup drinking also enables children to be more aware of their face and mouth, learn to hold the cup on their own, and engage their taste buds to different sensations like temperatures, flavours, and liquid textures.
The use of cups might begin as early as 6 months. A straw cup introduced as early as 6-9 months old can help in the proper development of the jaws by training the muscles around the jaw and by also encouraging a mature swallowing pattern.
Different Cups for Your Child’s Development
What is a Straw Cup?
A straw cup is the first step in introducing the baby to a regular cup since both dwell on a fundamental sucking motion. The straw cup helps place the tongue location perfectly, so that using a regular cup becomes much simpler.
Though it may vary depending on the infant, the ideal time to switch to a straw cup is between 9 and 15 months of age. You may even start training your babies from as young as 6 to 7 months if you want! A straw cup is an ideal choice when you want to encourage a chin tuck, tongue retraction, and lip seal while drinking.
Straw cups allow children to squeeze small liquid volumes in the mouth, which facilitates easy drinking.
Advantages of a Straw Cup
• Strengthen oral muscles due to encouragement to suck and swallow, which involve lip, tongue, and cheek muscle movement
• Correct tongue positioning encouraged, which supports speech abilities and producing early consonant sounds
The Hegen PCTO™ Straw Cup, a 330ml/ 11oz PPSU milestone cup designed for 9-month-olds and up, presents far greater merits if the straw cup is your choice. Besides encouraging natural sucking for faster development of oral-motor muscles, the Hegen Straw Cup also offers a safe and effortless drinking experience to toddlers from a young age. The Hegen Straw Cup comes without a bite valve to promote natural sucking and seamless consumption. It is an easy-to-sip straw the helps the baby learn how to suck in an upright position, preventing choking.
What is an All-Rounder Cup?
Open cup drinking brings several developmental advantages for babies such as visual sensory development when drinking liquids, which prepares their brain for safe drinking, and facial muscle and bone development resulting in improved speech, feeding, and swallowing skills.
In contrast to a straw cup which promotes sucking, open cup drinking teaches them to develop a more mature pattern, controlling the liquid flow and volume, forming a bolus, and transferring it inside. Over time, it teaches toddlers to prevent spiling and also relieves them from palate irritation due to straws.
The Hegen PCTO™ 240ml/8oz All-Rounder Cup PPSU is the go-to trainer cup to help your child transit away from feeding bottle to open cup drinking like a grown-up. Hegen’s All-Rounder cup comes with the world’s first patented Press-to-Close, Twist-to-Open™ design offering one-hand closure with no screw thread for further ease of use. Suitable for a child 12-months-old and up, the Hegen All-Rounder Cup helps promote healthier teeth development while nurturing oral motor skills to drink from an open cup independently and confidently.
Advantages of Hegen All-Rounder Cup
• Easy sipping, reduced gagging and intake of gas with the help of a soft silicone disc regulating water flow effectively
• Reduced spillage when your child tilts the cup over due to soft silicone disc
• Dust cover for hygiene protection and adaptable to various bottle sizes
• Hegen Sqround™ (square + round) shaped bottle helps nurture your child’s motor skills of holding a cup without the need for any additional attachments
How to Transition to a Cup?
Dr Jessica Khong advises that choosing a suitable cup is the first step towards encouraging your child to transition to either a straw or open cup. Choose a cup that is easy for your child to hold, such as bottles with ergonomic design and stable base to prevent spillage. Demonstrate drinking from the cup and make it a fun activity that you can do with your child. Don’t worry if spillage happens, it’s after all, a learning process for your child.
Ready to transition your toddler to the Hegen All-Rounder Cup? Shop now.