Stacey Zimmels from @feedeatspeak is a feeding and swallowing specialist speech therapist of almost 20 years and more recently also qualified as an IBCLC lactation consultant. She joins us for a guest blog explaining her reasons for encouraging open cup drinking for babies. She writes…
I have supported many infants with establishing cup drinking for many reasons. It can be a tricky skill to establish as you can imagine. Small wobbly baby with moving hands combined with an open cup, and it may put you off considering an open cup for your little one. However, there are numerous benefits to open cup drinking, and for me Doidy cup has always been my recommendation to patients, clients and also with my own kids. Here’s why…
Benefits of open cup drinking:
- A recent study has shown that the way that breastfed babies use their jaw muscles for drinking is more similar in open cup drinking than it is for sucking from a bottle. This makes an open cup a natural transition to drinking water (from 6 months) or expressed breast milk.
- Open cup drinking is preferable to spouted beaker cup drinking for oral motor development. Tongue positioning on a hard spout may inhibit progression to a mature swallow pattern.
Benefits of the Doidy cup:
- The Doidy cup has a cut away lip, this has two advantages for you and your baby. The first is that your baby doesn’t need to tilt their head back to drink liquid. It keeps their airway in a neutral position and reduces the risk of fluids ‘going down the wrong way’ causing them to cough. The second is that for small babies who are being fed, it means that the parent is able to see the liquid approaching the baby’s lips and can appropriately pace the flow of the water or milk.
- The Doidy cup has two handles which some babies may find easier to grab and hold as they learn to feed themselves.
Tips to transition to open cup drinking:
- Be consistent, it can take time to learn a new skill and cup drinking is a skill which need to be learnt. Offering the Doidy cup for each drinking opportunity will help to facilitate learning. Practice makes perfect
- As water and breastmilk is a thin fluid and flows quickly here is a little trick to help with learning to drink if your baby is over 6 months. Put a thicker liquid in the cup. This could be a blended soup or a yoghurt. The thicker liquid slows down the flow and gives your baby more time to co-ordinate their oral motor skills for drinking.
You can buy your Doidycup in Sainsbury’s, Jojo Maman Bebe or John Lewis stores or online at Ocado, Amazon or via our website https://www.bickiepegs.com/product/doidy-cup/
Find out more about Stacey ;
Stacey Zimmels is a feeding and swallowing specialist speech therapist (SLT) and International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Stacey has worked for almost 20 years supporting infants and children with a wide range of feeding and swallowing difficulties. Her breadth of knowledge and experience runs across the spectrum; including but not exclusive to, preterm infants, breast and bottle feeding, weaning difficulties, managing allergies and reflux, swallowing difficulties and fussy eating. Stacey is the Clinical Lead for a paediatric feeding service in an NHS tertiary hospital and also runs a private practice. Stacey has published abstracts and articles in her field of interest and has presented at conferences. In addition to her work supporting children and families she is passionate about training others in her field, she provides clinical supervision services for a number of other feeding specialist SLT’s within the NHS. She has also consulted on NHS service management and development for feeding and swallowing services. Find out more at her website www.feedeatspeak.co.uk
Bsc (Hons) MRSCSLT, MHCPC, MASLTIP, IBCLC.
Paediatric Feeding and Swallowing Specialist Speech Therapist and Lactation Consultant