Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Teach Your Baby (or Toddler) to Drink from a Straw





Any parent with a baby or toddler knows that there are a multitude of sippy cups available to choose from.  It can be pretty overwhelming when you're standing in front of a selection of 30+ cups. To make it more confusing, parents have the choice between the traditional spout shaped sippy cup or a no spill straw cup.  My vote, as a therapist, is the straw cup.  In fact, this is one of the first recommondations I make to families I am working with to improve feeding skills and even give sensory input.  I know, you didn't know the straw had so much power! To say this simply, straw drinking requires the use of different muscles and a more sophisticated motor plan, meaning it is a little more challenging.  Using a spout shaped sippy cup is the same sucking motion a child uses to drink from a bottle, so it isn't progressing their skills much.  You may be saying, "So what?  What difference does it make?"  Well, those straw drinking muscles they are using are the same muscles  they need to manipulate food in their mouth better and say more speech sounds.  Sure, a kid will still eventually get these skills, but by introducing a straw you are laying a stronger foundation and they may master these skills sooner!  In addition, straw drinking gives a lot of sensory feedback, the force it requires to suck can be very calming and organizing. Sounds great, right?  By now you are ready to run to the store and stock up!  Before you hop in the car or click over to Amazon, there are a few things to consider first, like what kind of straw to use, what age you should introduce it, and how to actually teach a baby to drink from one (most of them need some help to get going).

Let's talk about age first.  Most babies are capable of being taught to drink from a straw at 9 months.  Typically toddlers will figure it out by age 2 on their own.  I was able to teach my older son at 8 months and my younger son taught himself at 5 months!  That was crazy, and I'm not trying to brag, he just kept watching his big brother do it and put it together on his own.  I was pretty amazed when he reached for it one day and just took a drink like it was old hat.  Although, that is pretty uncommon, potentially it is possible.  

One important word of caution, straw drinking can cause babies or toddlers to swallow quickly if they are sucking fast, which may make them cough and choke on the liquid.  Swallowing is a very coordinated action that most of us take for granted, when something "goes down the wrong pipe", liquid may actually enter our lungs and we begin coughing to get it out.  It is okay if this happens occasionally, but if it happens often (and it could with babies) then you may need to lay off the straw for a little while or try putting thicker  liquids into the cup (milk, milkshakes, or even applesauce) until they get the hang of it. Otherwise, they could end up with pnemonia.  Also, make sure they are seated, it can get difficult for a toddler to manage walking and swallowing.  If your child is greater than 15 months and still coughing frequently while using a straw, mention it to their doc.


Alright, so let's get into the meat of this post... How to actually teach your child to drink from a straw.  First, of all try and stick a regular straw in their mouth, it is important that it is just a good old fashioned straw, because the no spill straw cups require you to suck really really hard.  A baby may try to suck and when they don't get anything instantly just give up.  Who knows, they may take to it right away, without any help from you.  More likely  they will just hold their mouth open or put their mouth on it but won't suck.   In this case I would try to:





1. Take the regular straw and stick it into a cup of water, so it is touching the bottom, and put your finger over the opening at the top.  Keep your finger over the opening at the top so you are holding the liquid in the straw as you pull the straw out of the water, as I am doing in the picture above.

2. With your baby sitting firmly in a chair, hold the straw up over their open mouth and release the liquid so it falls into their mouth, being careful not to allow too much water to go in at a time.


3. Repeat this a few times, if your baby seems interested.  If they aren't up for participating, then try again on a different day.  Hopefully your baby will start to close their mouth around the straw.  If they aren't then stroke the sides of their cheeks and demonstrate so they can imiate you!


4. Once they are closing their mouth around the straw, keep your finger over the other end of the straw so they have to suck to get the liquid out.  Keep putting more and more water into the straw so they are sucking more and more through the straw.


5. Now try putting the straw directly into the cup and letting them take a drink.  Some will have figured it out at this point and won't need any more help.  If they go back to holding their mouth open then start over and this time when they start to suck the water out of the straw flip the straw down into the open cup of water.  This is a little tricky, you have to be fast.  The idea is that you don't break the sucking action and hopefully they start to make the connection that when they suck they get a drink!  


It may take several "practice sessions" before your babe masters this skill.  If this approach isn't working, I do have one more trick!  You will need to get yourself a set of the 
Munchkin Take and Toss Straw Cup, they usually come in a four pack and are super cheap.  For some reason, when the lids are placed on these cups it creates a vacuum.  Put the straw in the cup, with the lid tightly on and put the straw up to your kid's mouth and squeeze the cup.  The water will actually shoot right into their mouth!  Do this gently, again, you don't want them to get too much.  Encourage the stroking on the face if they don't close their mouth and of course, demonstrate!  Therapy supply companies actually sell and market cups designed to help your child drink from a straw, if you are interested in those, click here.

Once they have mastered drinking from a regular straw, then it is probably a good idea to move to a no spill straw cup.  Besides your own sanity, they have to suck harder to get the liquid out, which will decrease choking and coughing.  As I mentioned earlier, there are a ton of cups to choose from.  I don't have any brand that I particularly love, and if they fall the right way, they all leak a little (so much for no-spill).  Also, they are a total  pain to disassemble and reassemble.  In my house we have one water cup a day and one milk cup a day  that I keep in the fridge between meals. I do this just to minimize how often I have put these things together.  I hope I'm not swaying you away from the straw though, they are worth it!


So when I am  choosing a cup  I look for three things:


1. Is it a skinny straw?  Some have really wide straws which give too much liquid and don't work the muscles as well.


2. Is  it  insulated?  I prefer these for milk, but buy plastic ones for water.  Although, it's your preference.


3. Can I flip the straw inside?  This  helps  minimize  germs  while  traveling.


I  have  tried  and  like 
Munchkin  and  Playtex  varieties  well enough, skinny  straws  are the most  important  feature.  Most of these  need  replaced  after 6-12 months  though because the  plastic  straws start to wear down and tear.

Keep in mind straw drinking requires a lot of muscle control and coordination.  If you are trying this with a child with low muscle tone, it will be much more challenging, and will probably take multiple attempts before they learn how to do it.  


I would love to hear how it goes with your little babe, let me know! I  have  several other posts  geared towards this  age group. If you are  interested, check out: Mega List of First Table Foods, Why You Should Let Your Baby Get Messy, and Grate It.

70 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I have a few questions though- what if your child has no interest in drinking from a straw? My 24 month old is very stubborn and has a really difficult time with anything new. He was 10 weeks premature, which may be some of the reason why. We struggled to get him to drink from a sippy cup at all. At 12 months (adjusted) we took the bottle away and got him to drink from a Gerber water bottle - we had at least 10 different sippy cups we tried from age 6 months on. He refused all of them. It took until 18 months before we got him to drink from a sippy cup - and it was one that was shaped like a glass (he would drink out of a glass). Now we've been trying to get him to be interested in a straw, and he refuses it. Also, he refuses all liquid drinks except water. Help?

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  2. Oh toddlers can be so stubborn! You aren't alone, I have worked with other kiddos that are very particular. Sometimes the unknown is pretty overwhelming. First I would try both methods I described in the post. He may get a kick out of having you drop water into his mouth. If he doesn't go for that than try the take and toss cups. He may not try to take a sip right away, but start sitting it out while he is playing. Maybe his other sippy cup won't be around and while he's busy playing he won't think of it too much and go for a sip You could also try giving some of his stuffed animals a drink from his new cup to peak some interest.

    Try having a peer drink from the same cup at a playdate and make a big deal about it. This may take many attempts, don't get discouraged (I know easier said than done) and keep trying.

    As for the water, I wouldn't be too concerned unless he isn't drinking milk? Is that the case?

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  3. Agreed this is a great post! My 18 month old can get liquid from the straw, but she cannot get the concept that she doesn't need to tip the cup up (like her non straw sippy cups). Of course when she does this, the water tips away from the end of the straw, making it impossible to drink. She gets frustrated and annoyed and I end up caving and going back to the other kind. Any suggestions?

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    1. Yes, I should have mentioned this in the post because it is a common problem. The only way to get around this is to keep practicing and helping her to keep it down. Also, make sure the straw cup is really full so if she is tipping it a little she will be likely to get some. Once she starts to get the hang of it, I would start to think about doing away with spout shaped sippy cups all together. Hope that helps!

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    2. thank you, i will try this!

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  4. I wanted to share this suggestion from the blogger and speech therapist at Little Stories:

    "My favorite cup, and I think for all my mommy friends too, is the Thermos Foogo with the straw (Level 3) or also sometimes called the Funtainer. It really doesn't leak, lasts and lasts, and keeps drinks cold. I know for sure you can find them in the lunchbox/water bottle section at Target, Babies R Us, or amazon."

    I will be giving it a try!

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  5. My soon had a sippy cup with a straw once. Within a month, the straw was completely mildewed. How do I prevent that?

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    1. Yes, you do have to be careful of this. It is best to take them completely apart and put them in the dishwasher. Somebody also recently recommended Foogo straw cups, they are stainless steel and suppose to be antibacterial (see the comment above.) I know they can be a pain to deal with but I think the benefits are worth it.

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  6. I'm also a pediatric OT/mom, and my little guy was never able to take a bottle (he only wanted to chew on the nipple) and would choke while breastfeeding all the way through about 8 months of age (no pneumonia though, thank goodness). Around that time, we discovered all the great varieties of organic baby food pouches that are now super popular in grocery stores. They have a straw-like tip and you can squeeze the pouch to assist with getting the stage 1/stage 2 puree out, much like you mentioned with the vacuum cups. After only a few weeks of giving him pouches (where he sucked directly out of the pouch and we decreased the amount of assistance we provided with squeezing the pouch), he was completely able to drink from a regular grown-up straw! By 9 months old he was drinking from a straw and we were totally ecstatic (especially my husband, who was the one that had to try and feed him while I was at work 3 days a week). Sooo, that's our story about teaching our baby to drink from a straw. :) Have you had any experience with these pouches in feeding therapy?
    -Christie (MamaOT.com)

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    1. I haven't actually had a need to use them, but it is a great idea! Thanks for sharing it!

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  7. I am a mom and an SLP. I love straw cups for the same reasons as mentioned above, but found them a nightmare to clean. My favorite cups are from Tupperware. They are similar to the munchkin cups but are spill proof. The tumblers come with lids that have a silicone circle with an x cut in it. Once the lid is on, it doesn't spill. whenyou are ready to drink just put a regular straw in the hole! Voila! :) the cups are a little prices, but highly durable!

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    1. Brooke- yes, you are so right, about those straws being a pain to clean! Such, a great tip!

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  8. Your blog is amazing! I swear I just diagnosed my 11 month old who will not eat anything that is not a cracker/cheerio/puff as have sensory issues because he will eat anything via babyfood mushed up and level three, but will not touch anything that is wet or squishy so table foods have been a nightmare--no issues at all with our first child. However, I am wondering about the straw cup/sippy cup. Do I put just water in it? Formula, or cow's milk? He is still taking a bottle after each meal so should I transistion him to cup rather than bottle since he is nearing the year? This second baby of ours is making me feel like a very clueless first time mommy! Thanks for any help you can offer.

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    1. Thanks Julie! Water is great to start with. Your doctor probably wants you to wait to 12 months for cow's milk, but you could surely put formula in it and eventually milk. Start with one meal by trying to give him some formula in the cup if you want. He may associate it with the bottle though, so don't be discouraged if he doesn't go for it. It is amazing how much you forget by the time the next baby comes around! Keep me posted!

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  9. This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas.

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  10. I loved this post. Before I read this, it never occurred to me to offer my daughter a straw. She is 15 months and has been very resistant to switching from the bottle to a sippy cup. I picked up one of the Munchkin straw cups and she LOVES it. Thanks for all the great tips!

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    1. That's great! And thank you! By the way you aren't alone- most people don't think to give their young toddlers straws!

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  11. Love this post! Just wanted to add that we love our Playtex brand flip-cap straw cups! We started using a straw one day around 6 months when I accidentally left the only sippy cup I had at my mom's house. I used the method you describe above and my daughter caught on that day! We've never used a sippy cup since then. I love the Playtex cups because they aren't complicated to assemble/disassemble. You just insert the straw through the lid til it sort of clicks, then screw the lid on (it has a click/notch in it so you know it's closed). They don't leak, except for the few drops that may still be in the straw when dropped on the ground. We've been using them for going on 6 months (I only own 2 of them, but aren't doing milk yet, so I'll get more soon) and haven't had any problems keeping them clean. I run them in the dishwasher each night before we go to bed, and should any food from backwash (ew! my least favorite part of straw cups!) gets inside the straw, I just use my little brush cleaner that came with my Dr. Brown's bottles to clean it out.

    Ditto on the use of the pouches--we started those around the same time as the straw and they offer great practice (though, I still can't hand it to my daughter and let her just suck, cause she squirts all of the contents out when she grabs the bag part LOL) :)

    Just discovered your blog this evening, and am loving the content! I'll definitely be back for more! Thanks!

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    1. Mrs. Butler- yes I prefer those playtex ones as well. We have a large variety and those are the easiest to put together. Thanks for the nice comment, glad you found Your Kid's Table!

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  12. Love this post! I am a mom of 2 young boys as well as a pediatric SLP. I too often urge families to switch from sippys to straws for the same benefits that you outlined. I also love "swirly" straws which I often find in bulk in party sections at Target/Wal-Mart. Pottery Barn Kids also has a swirly straw included cup that my son loves. These straws can be more challenging as the kids need to suck longer. Kids typically work hard though for these because they love to watch the liquid's path. Its a good sometimes straw for sure. I am pretty diligent about cleaning these as soon as my son uses them and typically only serve water in them for cleaning ease...although to increase the straws' benefits, using a more challenging texture (milkshake consistency) can be great.

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  13. My 18 month cannot drink from a sippy cup or a straw cup....he refuses it all the time .. Is it a good idea to introduce a water bottle with a narrow mouth so that he can drink from it n no sucking? Pl reply

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    1. Yes, that is totally fine. Watch out for choking or coughing and only give it to him when he is in a seated position. Also, give him as much help as he needs pulling back as he masters it. You can also use a small regular cup with just a little bit of liquid in it. However, keep trying the straw cup-- especially the method I described above with a regular straw! Hope that helps! Let me know if you need more help!

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  14. Thanks, this post has really encouraged me go for the straw cup option! I have a 7.5 month-old and I breastfeed her for the most part and supplement her with formula in a bottle. Recently, I've been trying to wean her off of the bottle. Today, I tried your method with the straw and also tried using the Playtex straw cups (the one where I can squeeze the bottle to shoot up a bit of liquid). It went pretty well, I think, since she started to suck on the straw occasionally. The only issue right now is that she almost always spits the formula back out if she drinks this way, as opposed to from a bottle. She doesn't seem to choke, but just doesn't want to swallow anything. Would you have any insight to this? Is it a phase that will eventually go away if I continue to let her drink from a straw? Thanks!!!

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    1. It sounds like it went really well! It is a slow process, especially when they are that young. She may be spitting out the formula because she is used to it in a bottle. Try some water as well, just so she get the hang of it. On the other hand, babies love to spit and she might just be exploring. Give lots of praise if she keeps some in her mouth. It is a phase- she is really young- keep trying and modeling for her!!! You are on the right track!!!

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  15. My daughter (11 months old) had open heart surgery @ 11 weeks old, and was intubated 3 times. During recovery she developed a feeding aversion, and came home with an NG tube. She has been NG free for 4 months, but her volumes are about 1/2 what a normal baby would eat (we are using a calorie supplement). We have been seeing speech and things are improving. However, our SLP strongly recommends against the straw cups and wants us to use sippy cups without the valve. My LO loves to drink out of glasses/cups as long as it isn't formula. We are willing to try anything, but I've been wondering why we shouldn't use the straw cups.

    Found Your Kid's Table today and love it. Thank you so much for the resource!

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    1. Fara- it sounds like your daughter is making nice progress. That's great, you have all really been through a lot! I'm assuming she wants you to avoid straws for the time being because it requires a more coordinated swallow pattern and if she doesn't have that under her belt right now it could lead to choking and/or liquid getting into her lungs. She is really young so there is plenty of time for straws, but I would ask her. So glad you found Your Kid's Table:)

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  16. My 9.5 month old son drinks from a straw cup but places the straw in the corner of his mouth and sucks in from the side rather than placing it in the middle of his mouth, making it more difficult for him to swallow the liquid he has sucked. I have tried holding the straw in the middle of his mouth but he always reverts back to this position. Would this suggest he does not have the musculature to use the straw in a typical fashion? What might you suggest?

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    1. Well, if he were over one, yes I would say to work on some mouth exercises, but he is so young. Great that you are already getting him on the straw, but it is probably a little difficult for him to keep in the center of his mouth. Keep trying to move it over and demonstrate yourself drinking or sing a song to distract him while you hold it in place. This will help build up those muscles.

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  17. I moved my son from bottles to a soft spouted sippy cup before I learned about the benefits of using a straw. My son is 14.5 months old and takes a sippy cup with water throughout the day. I tried a valve straw cup and he wouldn't even try to suck, he just chewed on the straw. Then I got the take and toss and put some diluted juice in it (he's never had juice so it was enticing) and he went to town sucking it up. The problem was that he didn't seem to know how to swallow while the straw was in his mouth. He would let go of the straw after each sip and a lot of the liquid would dribble out of his mouth. I don't know how much he got down his throat, but his bib and shirt were soaked. But he emptied 3/4 of the cup in just a few minutes. Will his swallowing get better with practice? My son don't have any diagnosed delay, but he does seem to be a little behind his same age playmates in gross motor and coordination. I want him to be able to use a straw, but don't know if there is something else I can do to facilitate this transition.

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    1. Hi Jessica, has he tried the valved straw cup again, since learning with the take and toss? If not- try again, he may have the hang of it now, if you have keep trying periodically. To help him get the hang of this, I would suggest trying something thicker in straw cup. First try whole milk, if that still goes everywhere, then make a thinner smoothie with yogurt and juice. Play around with the consistency, until he can suck it up without spitting it out. Let me know it is going!

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    2. We tried the valve cup again today and he did much better. I think if we keep practicing, he will be able to drink without issues of it spilling back out. Thanks for the suggestion!

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    3. That is great Jessica, keep up the hard work, it will pay off soon!

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  18. So awesome! It took me about 60 seconds to teach my 9 month old after reading this. Thanks!!!

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  19. my daughter is 11 months old.. i try platex straw cup for water and juice. she knows how to suck but The problem was that she didn't seem to know how to swallow while the straw was in her mouth. She would let go of the straw after each sip and a lot of the liquid would dribble out of her mouth. I don't know how much she got down her throat, but her bib and shirt were soaked.I dont know what to do.she is exclusively breastfeed and i am planning to wean off in a month. I want her to be able to use a straw, but don't know if there is something else I can do to facilitate this transition.

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    1. Try something thicker at first, like a yogurt smoothie. You can water down with juice a little if you need to. This will give her some more time to process the swallow and help keep the liquid from falling back out. Keep trying, she is young. She probably just needs some practice! Let me know how it goes!

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  20. Hi, lovely post. Thanks! My son is 28 months and drinks from straw bottles, but my problem is that he drinks milk and other thick liquids with no problem. But when it comes to water, he just sucks it in n spills it right back out of his mouth. Am trying everything like different straw bottles, different places in the house, me imitating and nothing is working. Any suggestion as to how to get him to drink water from straw bottles? Thank you so much!

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    1. Well, it's hard to say if he is doing this out of habit or because the liquid is thinner and he doesn't know have the control to swallow it. If it is the first, I would say just keep trying. If it is the latter I would say to try and work on building the muscles he uses in his mouth. You can do this by making silly faces like kiss lips and fish lips. Also, get a bunch of different whistles (usually at a party supply store for very cheap) and have him practice this. Both of these things will help build muscles strength.

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  21. Hi Alisha, thanks for the great post. My little girl was the same as your son & picked up on the straw remarkably well at 6 mos from watching me drink water from a straw cup daily. She would pretend to drink out of it & one day we realized she really was and decided to get her one of her own (think baby thinkster). She's 11 mos old now & does pretty well, other than the occasional choking from taking too much in (usually when she first starts drinking). However, she still prefers her bottle and seems to want to just play with the straw cup. We offer it to her with water during meals (only an ounce or 2) and she does great, but then when I put milk in it, she just plays with it and takes sips occasionally. If I walk around while holding her and hold the straw to her mouth for her, I can usually get her to finish most of it, but it takes about 20-30 minutes. Much of the time I get frustrated & end up putting the rest in a bottle, which she sucks down in just a couple of minutes. There have been occasions when she DOES finish her straw cup after 5-10 minutes, so I know she can do it. Would you recommend not using the bottle at all anymore & just going with the straw only, or just continuing to try and encourage it more frequently? My hope was to get her off the bottle by 12 mos, but at this rate, I'm not so sure. Thanks!!

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    1. Yes, the bottle can be tricky habit to break, and you are right to be trying to wean her from it. However, this is just a habit she has. I would wait to she is on cow's milk- I'm assuming that you would start that after her first birthday. Of course, you will mix formula and milk to start, but maybe start the transition in her straw cup. Also, if she is eating enough, she doesn't need to consume lots of milk anymore, it's okay. Just put it back in the fridge after a few minutes. Let me know if you need more help:)

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    2. Great, thank you!! Yes, we plan on transitioning to cow's milk next month when she turns one. I was planning on talking to her pedi about how to do that soon. She also seems to have an extremely sensitive gag reflex & doesn't handle some textures too well. She eats a decent amount of food (about 20-22 oz/day) but she's still having a difficult time with finger food & thick purees, and has even vomited after gagging several times the last couple of months. She does fine with some finger foods (puffs, pancake pieces dipped in fruit), but not so well with others. I was hoping maybe if I encourage the straw more, that perhaps it would build her muscles up better & help her to become a better eater. Hopefully she'll grow out of this! It's stressful for me, but it's reassuring to me that she's in the 75th percentile for her weight/height & is otherwise developmentally on track. Thanks again!

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    3. The straw will definitely help, but that is only a piece of the puzzle. Ask the dr about early intervention services in your area- or me, I can help with that. It sounds like she is doing really well, but it might be helpful to have a support like an OT move you through this transition of eating. Keep trying and read my posts on how to transition to table foods. Also, if you are interested, I offer consults, which would give you a lot more specific info. Let me know how it goes!

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  22. Just introduced my daughter to the munchin straw cup. My issue is she will ONLY drink Milk from a bottle if its in a regular sippy cup (which she has been drinking water from since 6mos) she takes a couple of sips and throws it. She did the same with straw cup. Should I just get rid of the bottles cold turkey? She gets the concept of the straw (tips it up at times like a sippy) but wants her BaBa.

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  23. Thank you so much for this post! When I gave my 9.5 month old daughter a straw cup with water to drink, it took her less than 5 mins to figure it out!! My husband and I were surprised and thrilled. She loves her straw cup but after reading your post, I am a bit concerned.

    Whenever she first sips from the straw each day, she does tend to overdo it and cough and choke a bit. She does recover and then drink fine from that point on. Should I stop giving her the straw cup based on your comments above or keep giving it to her so she gets the hang of it better.

    Thank you so much!

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  24. Thanks for the post, this worked really great for our son and he was able to pick up drinking from the straw in just minutes!

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    1. Yay! That is awesome!!! Thanks for stopping back to share!

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  25. Thanks for this post. I have a 13 month old son and he can drink easily from pouches but whenever i tried introducing a straw he keeps biting it and and playing with it. Any suggestions of how i can make him drink from 'softer' straws? Thanks

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    1. Forgot to add that he sometimes drinks from
      The non-spill sippy cups with straws but mostlu he plays with it in his mouth. Today i tried closing one end and he did drink from the other side but then when i put the straw in the glass it was back to playing with it between his teeth.

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    2. Unfortunately this often comes with territory. I would use the no spill cups, he is probably less likely to bite. Give him reminders to take drinks from it. If he is excessively chewing and not biting just take it away each time he bites. After a few minutes give him a drink saying "take a drink". Also, try to give it to him when you suspect he is thirsty. This phase will pass:)

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  26. On the point of moving onto a no-spill straw cup, there is also something we found which has been great for our 'sanity' (as you mentioned!). Its called a Drink Buddy and it saved us having to buy any special cups as we were just able to use our normal plastic ones. Easier to clean too :)

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    1. Awesome, thanks for sharing! I will be checking it out!

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  27. I'm pretty excited my baby did the same as yours. She is so excited to eat and drink that she started eating baby food from a spoon at 3 1/2 months and drinking from a straw at 5 1/2 months.

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  28. My baby girl loves drinking out of a straw. I gave her the playtex straw cup at 4.5 months and she was able to learn within one day. Playtex is definitely the way to go if you want to teach your child to drink out of a straw. It has a squeeze feature that delivers liquid to the top of the straw which makes it a lot easier for babies to learn.

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  29. This didnt actually acted on my child.Instead she started spilling all the water.

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  30. Thank you so much for this post...I am going to try working on the straw today. I have a 26 weeker preemie that is now 17 months actual (14 months adjusted). He refuses to drink from a sippy cup and I have tried them all. He will take two or three sips and then will throw them down. He still takes formula from a bottle several times a day for calorie boosts. I hope he likes the straw...so maybe we can get him drinking cow's milk and milkshakes from a cup!!

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    1. I also have a 26 weeker preemie that is now 21 months (19 months adjusted). His Early Intervention teacher bought us a Honey Bear Straw cup to use for him. The cup is made of plastic but its flexible therefore you can help your little one by squeezing liquid into his mouth. This helped our son a lot. My little one likes to drink out of a cup but he does know what to do with the cup at all!! She encouraged us early on to start him utilizing a straw cup versus a sippy cup for speech development.

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  31. Mine really had no interest in using the regular sippy cups. She was born with hydrocephalus due to a stroke in utero. The stroke also caused a bit of motor control issues in her right side. The biggest major hurdle for the first few months was a weak suck. It was something no one thought about apparently and things like reflux and intolerance were what they were trying to nudge us toward. She lost a half pound, threw up everything, and my milk supply dried up. I just couldn't keep up with pumping and trying to bottle feed her around the clock since she simply would not feed at the breast. It occurred to me one day that maybe, just maybe, she wasn't able to suck very hard because of the poor muscle tone and control. Switched her to a medium flow nipple, and, lo and behold, she ate and ate. And slept. And I slept! As I was talking about before, we were having trouble trying to get her to use a sippy and she would just put her mouth on the straw and look at us like "There. Ya happy now?". We had the best luck with a juice box, of all things. Daddy put it to her lips and squeezed a little juice in her mouth. Once she figured out stuff was going to come out of there, she was all for it. In less than 3 days, we had phased out the bottle of the straw cup entirely. She uses the Munchkin straw cups, and I was very surprised when I tried to take a sip at just how hard you have to suck! Apparently she doesn't have as much trouble with a weak suck anymore! She is pretty delayed with her speech. She is going on 22 months and barely 2 words and not much jabbering. Could drinking from a straw help with this in the long run?

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your success story! You are one insightful momma! Straw drinking could definitely help with speech because many of the the muscles she is working are also needed for talking.

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  32. Hi! I am just wondering a out the straw cup that seems like the water is at the tip of the straw and just needs a little bite. My son seems to he sucking but I'm not sure if it is the right way.

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    1. Hi! Do you mean one that he doesn't need to suck as far? Try with a regular straw first to make sure he has the concept. You can cut the straw and use a small cup so he doesn't have to suck a lot. Did that answer your question?

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  34. Please help. My daughter is about to be 6 months old. We have struggled with getting her to take a bottle her whole short life! She is breastfed and no other food yet. We have tried so many bottles and nipples--finally getting her to take the the lansinoh momma bottle but that only lasted about a month (her 4th month?) and then got an ear infection and it went downhill. When starting she screamed if a bottle even came near her, then she finally got the hang of it but never drank as much at daycare as she would eat when breastfeeding....and they had to work hard to get her to take it. We had friends try with me out of the house, she went on a 6 hr hunger strike even. She just chews on the nipple now. I bought some hard and soft spout sippy cups because she always reaches for our cups when drinking but nothing. I was advised to take the valve out. Oh and she is a champion at breastfeeding. PLEASE HELP. I don't care what type of glass/bottle/sippy/cup etc it is if I can get her to take something when I am gone. What do I do? How to I go about it?? I keep praying for God to give me strength!!!

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    1. I know this is a really tricky situation. My older son NEVER took a bottle, but nursed easily. It was stressful for me at times, but I was able to make it work. I would experiment with a few kinds of sippy cups, obviously I prefer a straw, but I don't think she'll drink enough from it at her age. She may not from the sippy cup either. Keep the valve out initially once she gets the hang of it, put the valve back in. I've never tried it, but some lactation consultants recommend feeding from a spoon until the phase has passed. You could also try a different bottle, one she doesn't associate with the ear pain. Try a different spot/ position, change up as much as possible. I had success with Tommee Tipee, but there is the breast shaped bottle. I just pinned it to my board: For the Babies on Pinterest. Here is the link: pinterest.com/yourkidstable I hope this helps, I feel your pain!

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  35. Hi Thank you your post is brilliant. I have a six month baby boy refuses the bottle and sippy cup. He been exclusively breastfed. However I am now back to work and my mum spends long time feeding him, We actually end up spoon feeding him. I am trying to wean him off the breastfeeding. I have tried the straw and he was very keen on it he managed to suck the liquid out occasionally today however he did not do it continuously. He was forming his mouth like a fish . Is there anything I can do to encourage him to suck the straw since he showed a lot of interest. I be eternally grateful if the straw works as I am very desperate. thanks

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    1. I know this is a tricky spot to be in. Please keep in mind this is quite an advance skill for a 6 month old, not impossible. It requires a lot of muscle strength and he may tire out. I would keep tying and squeeze his cheeks a little to get his mouth into the right position.

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  36. This was great advice! My 12 month old picked up straw drinking right away when I showed him the way you described. I hadn't even thought to try it with him at this age, but it will make things much easier! Now if only I could get him off the bottle for milk (he'll only take water out of sippys and straws so far)

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  37. That's great. The bottle will come, he just the age to start working on it- if you need extra help see the article index in the menu bar, I have an article on Bottle Weaning! Good luck!

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  38. Just a helpful hint, Munchkin makes a straw cup now that has a little weight at the bottom of the flexible straw so that your baby can drink it from any angle (even upside down). My little one started drinking with this one at about 8 months old and although she will drink from others, this is by far our favorite!

    http://www.munchkin.com/products/feeding/cups/click-lock-7oz-straw-trainer-cup-or.html

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