Let’s face it, sippy cups make life less messy and so a whole lot easier for Mum & Dad. But the next step on from breast or bottle is to learn to drink from an open cup, held by an adult to limit the spills.
The sippy cup unfortunately promotes an infantile swallow pattern, with the tongue thrusting forward & backward. This swallow pattern is great if you are a breast or bottle-feeding infant, but not so if you’re a toddler. A toddler’s ability to develop a mature swallow pattern which helps to support proper jaw growth and development, is limited by this action.
The spout of the sippy cup prevents the tongue tip from moving upwards, and forces the tongue downwards, then forward and back as the child sucks on the spout to drink.
A good alternative is a ‘straw cup’, with the straw short enough that the child can just get their lips around it, but can’t have their tongue anchored underneath it.