Using Straws with Babies
When can a baby use a straw? This question has become incredibly popular, since many parents are opting to replace sippy cups with straws in order to encourage good teeth health. Understanding when a baby can confidently use a straw can ensure that this transition isn’t met with frustration in either the baby or the parent.
Straw Uses and Benefits
Straws are great for children, as they give them greater freedom to hold and engage with their cup. The placement of the liquid is also much closer to the throat, which prevents suctioning of air, and possible ear infections.
Age Appropriate Straw Use
In order to use a straw confidently, a baby usually needs to have full head and neck control. This means that a baby won’t usually be ready to use a straw until:
- Six months – At this age, many babies are able to hold their head up and engage with play.
- Eight to Twelve Months -At this age, most babies are able to sit up and have strong counterbalance. With assistance, they can begin using a straw, albeit with some spills and mess.
- Fifteen Months – By 15 months, most babies are able to balance and suck from a straw alone.
Introducing the Straw
When introducing a straw to a baby, it’s important to make the transition slowly. Start with a few sips of water with a bent straw. This will be easier to manipulate than a straight straw. As they get more competent, introduce a straight straw, and eventually straw cups. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it, but the rewards are worth it.
So, when can a baby use a straw? Most parents should wait until their child is comfortable sitting up and holding their head up, usually around six months. With practice, and the right tools, you’ll be able to comfortably and confidently introduce straws in no time.