Sunday, April 2, 2017


We do not rush our children off of bottles or off of pacifiers.  We try to limit when they are used, and with our year-old twins, we certainly encourage sippy cups at meals, but we have no problem with a couple of bottles a day, and pacifiers at night from age 12-24+ months.

That being said, we do introduce straws pretty early for our children -- usually before one year of age.  It takes them a few tries to get the hang of them, and they often end up pretty drenched (and/or coughing) the first few dozen or so times they try, but in time, they get the hang of them.

For one, it is nice that they can sip out of our adult water cups if we are in a situation that we didn't bring a child cup for them.  But, most importantly, the reason we introduce straws to our children so early goes back to my days as a preschool director and early childhood special education teacher.  A large percentage of three- and four-year-olds who attended my preschool received speech and language services from the Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP).  Some students had trouble with language, but many just had trouble with articulation.

One of the first questions the SLP would ask parents when she was evaluating a child's articulation was whether the child could drink out of a straw.  Nine times out of ten, the parents had no idea if their child could, because they had never introduced a straw to their child.  The SLP went on to explain that sucking liquid from a straw has a great benefit the way it strengthens so many lip, cheek, tongue, and facial muscles that contribute to speaking and correct articulation.  Often, the first thing the SLP would recommend would be for the parent to buy one of the crazy curly straws for their child to start to use, because they are fun, but also require even more strength for the child to slurp liquid.

We even gave crazy straws away as a favor at Tracey and Howard and Caroline's birthday party -- so we're doing our part to help all their little friends develop good articulation skills as well.

So, while I'm sure there are a million things I do wrong as a mother -- letting them drink from bottles, and sleep with a pacifier, and I don't rush them into talking... I do feel good about how early we introduce straws to our children, and encourage them to strengthen those mouth and facial muscles.

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