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Drinking Aids

Special straw bottles with anti-reflux valves to keep the liquid on top or cups to allow physiological tongue movement can be found here.

Learn to drink through straw

Between the ages of 12 and 24 months, oral development is on the absolute rise.  At this age, children learn to use their cheeks and lips together to drink from a straw, or blow bubbles.  They can chew and move increasingly challenging foods in their mouths.  The tongue reflex (which is used to support the sucking reflex to suck on the breast, bottle, or a pacifier) becomes integrated around the first birthday and progressively disappears. The transverse tongue reflex (the baby moves the tongue to the side where it perceives a touch, taste or food) is also integrated between the 9th and 24th month of life. 
The jaw, lip and tongue dissociation continues to develop so that the individual body parts can be moved separately.  The first molars and lower canines erupt. In addition, the calming effect of sucking is replaced by the calming effect of chewing and swallowing, which emphasizes the importance of the bite ring even for older children! Normally, children manage to drink from the straw as if by themselves. However, if for various reasons it does not work, then here is a way that you can do well at home.

What you need:

Applesauce, yogurt or other porridge, which is best filled immediately in 
  • drinking cup
  • sturdy straw 
  • Some water


1. Dip the straw into the yogurt or applesauce cup so that the tip of the straw and the outer part are covered with porridge. Use a finger to keep the top of the straw closed so that the porridge does not flow back out of the straw.  Place about 1cm of the straw flat on the tongue, as if it were a spoon. The moment your child closes his lips around the straw, slowly pull it out of his mouth. Your child already has the first sense of achievement and already has some of the porridge in his or her mouth.  You should practice this first step at least once a day. Some children can already do it on the first day and others need longer. Do not stress yourself, but remain consistent with your daily practice.
2. Now fill about 3cm of the porridge into the straw (you may have to suck on the other end of the straw). There should also be some porridge on the outside of the straw again. Again, hold the straw closed with a finger, like a pipette, so that the porridge also stays in the straw. Now place the straw back on the tongue as if it were a spoon. As soon as your child closes his lips around the straw, stay there a little longer (2-3sec) and then slowly pull it out again. As soon as you observe that your child starts sucking on it, loosen the finger so that your child can suck out the porridge. Continue this second step until your child can suck the 3cm of porridge out of the straw.
3. Gradually increase the amount of porridge. Once your child is sucking vigorously, put the straw into the cup so that only about 1cm of the straw is peeking out of the porridge. You may need to shorten the straw to do this. Let your child try if he/she can suck from the straw like this. If not, you may need to add some porridge to the tip of the straw or even take a step back and continue practicing point 2.
4. Great-now your child manages to drink porridge from the straw. Gradually dilute the porridge until it is like nectar. The next step is the royal class of straw drinking: you offer your child water with the straw!
I wish you much success and I will be happy if you write me if your child could learn straw drinking this way.