Struggling with how to teach a baby to drink from a straw? Some parents find it difficult to get their little one to transition to drinking from a straw, but here are tips that are sure to help!
Learning to drink from a straw is a great skill to teach your baby, especially when straw use has been shown to be better for language development and dental health.
Since drinking from a straw seems so intuitive to parents, it can be a bit tricky to teach. Most baby straw cups have valves to keep from leaking, but this also makes it more difficult for babies to learn how the straw works since it takes more work to drink than even a regular straw.
Luckily, there is a trick to make learning much easier for your baby.
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How To Teach A Baby To Drink From A Straw
This super simple method of teaching a baby to use a straw is so easy and works like a charm!
- Place your finger on one end of a straw to create suction while the other end is in a little bit of water.
- Hold the straw up to your baby’s face near their mouth and wait for them to wrap their lips around it.
- Once the straw is in the mouth, allow a tiny bit of water out by very slightly moving your finger.
- Repeat and wait until you feel them sucking on the straw to release the water.
- When baby seems to understand, give the straw in the cup a try. With any luck they’ll take right to it, if not repeat the process.
See, doesn’t that seem simple? And some babies will take to it right away, others may need to keep practicing for a while until it clicks.
Here’s a few more tips to get started:
- Practice with water, it’s much less messy.
- Though I tend to prefer a soft straw for a young baby to drink from, for teaching purposes a plastic straw works best for this. Many baby straw cups have a valve to keep from spilling constantly, but this also means that they require more suction and can make it more difficult to learn.
- If baby is doing great with you holding the straw, but not making the connection when the straw is in the cup try to make it a smooth transition. Starting with you holding the straw and drop your end into the cup while the baby is drinking. You have to be fast.
- If they don’t seem to understand right away, keep at it. Like any milestone, some babies will pick it up sooner than others, it’s not a race.
Best Straw Cups For Baby
Munchkin Any Angle Weighted Straw Trainer Cup
This is probably the most popular baby straw cup out there. It is good for young babies because they can hold it at odd angles and the straw will still work and the handles make it easy for tiny hands to hold. It’s also fairly leak proof, depending on how determined your child is. Personally, I find the cleaning a bit annoying and prefer these only for water, not milk, but that is a fairly standard complaint for baby cups.
These cups have a soft flexible straw, are super simple to take apart to clean, and fairly leak proof (unless your child flicks the straw part just right). The ease of cleaning and rare spills makes this my personal favorite straw cup for babies.
These are the absolute easiest cups to assemble and clean and they’re priced at a bargain so low you won’t care if you lose one. They’re recommended for 18 months and up and the hard straw is best for older babies and toddlers that are proficient straw users. Also the straw doesn’t have a valve so these will leak if tipped and I can attest that the tops will pop off if thrown hard enough. Despite that, these are my preferred straw cup for milk due to the ease of cleaning and not having to worry about mold.
Is Straw Drinking Good for Babies?
Yes! Drinking from a straw uses and helps strengthen different muscles developing stronger oral motor skills. These muscles can help with speech development and even support preventing some speech problems. Straw cups can also aid in developing strong swallowing and feeding patterns and decrease tooth decay.
When Can Babies Drink From a Straw?
Babies can generally learn to drink from a straw between 6 and 12 months. Some babies will pick it up quickly and others may take a bit longer to “get it” down. Though many parents opt to use a sippy cup then transition to a straw, it isn’t necessary and it’s fine to skip sippy cups if you want.
So there’s our best advice for how to teach a baby to drink from a straw. Did we miss anything? Do you have any other tips for getting a baby to transition to a straw cup? How about recommendations for truly spill-free straw cups… do any exist? Share in the comments!