A lot of you may have heard of the Munchkin Miracle 360 Cup by now. Labeled as the “miracle cup”, the 360 cup offers a spill proof design; what could possibly be wrong with that? The Miracle 360 Cup may seem like a convenient, mess free way to drink liquids with little ones. But, let us take a closer look at what is actually happening. When a little one is drinking from the Munchkin Miracle 360 Cups, they have to press down with their top lip, tilt their head back, suck and then swallow the given liquid. This often leads to the tongue or teeth to rest under the cup due to the increased pressure required to drink from the 360 cup. This will overactivate the facial muscles used from drinking, leading to jaw protrusion. When there is less liquid in the cup, this requires kids to tilt their head back even more in order to get the liquid out. This will put the airway at an increased risk for liquid to enter the wrong way and force their tongue to work in an abnormal pattern. Now, there’s nothing wrong with using it on occasion. But, we want our kiddos to develop typical oral motor development, without compensatory strategies. Developmentally, it is also important for your child to drink from an open cup and a straw cup.
Let’s talk about what cups are recommended by speech-language pathologists. There are a lot of various cups out on the market. Some great options for our little ones learning to drink from an open cup include the EzPz training cup system, Grabease 3-in-1 convertible cup, and the Munchkin weighted straw cup (but cut off below the valve at the top!). For slightly older children, any straw cup or flip top water bottle will do. See the image on the left for more examples! Now, what should we do if our child won’t drink from anything besides a 360 cup? You can try pulling off the lid and offer the cup to your child with water or milk. Now we have a “modified open cup”. Watch closely and give your child time to learn how to modify their drinking pattern and neck position. Always remember that your child should be sitting at a 90-degree angle when drinking any liquids.
For more information regarding the types of cups, your child should be drinking from in order to promote the best oral motor development, reach out to your speech-language pathologist or feeding therapist to learn more!
Author – Emily R.