What is the best Sippy Cup for development of Speech and Language?

Posted on 08. Nov, 2012 by in Main Blog, Speech Therapy, Speech Therapy Information

What is the best Sippy Cup for development of Speech and Language?

…we all want and SHOULD know!  And as often as I get asked this question, I still wish it were asked even more!

Let’s start with the fact that the same muscles and movements used for eating and drinking are some of the same muscles, movements and skills needed for development of speech sounds.  Despite being in a day and age where there are irritants in the air, resulting in asthma, allergies, etc., and causing inflammation and mouth breathing, two skills that are key for all at a young age are: lip closure and tongue retraction.  Simply put, this entails the ability to close our lips and keep our tongue in our mouth (pulled back, not falling out of the front of our mouths).   Imagine what one’s speech would be like without these two skills!

At the mention of sippie cups, most think of this:

Or this:


WHY would we transition from the bottle to a cup with a lid that is essentially a different shaped bottle??  These spouted cups do not develop lip closure or tongue retraction, quite the opposite actually.  Good news is, this knowledge is catching on and there are several models of sippy cups that have begun to come out that are speech development’s friend!

Check these options out.





See the difference?  There is no spout that goes into the mouth, sits on the tongue, and promotes continued sucking.  With proper placement, these new lipped cups promote adult-like drinking with our lips closed and tongue retracted, and, in turn, better oral placement for development of speech sounds.

I do not necessarily recommend one brand over the other, and there are new versions of this cup coming out everyday.  Let’s face it, our children will have their own opinions on the matter, maybe they will prefer one brand over the other, and then, decision made!  I simply promote the idea of proper oral placement and providing more opportunity for development of strong foundation skills for developing speech sounds.

I am certainly open to hearing your experience with these cups, whether it was me who recommended them to you or not.  I am always looking for new products to recommend to my clients and their families!  A straw is another great alternative, provided the placement of the lips and tongue are correct.

A Speech-Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding can guide you through the selection process and ensure that your child’s lips and tongue are where they should be on the straw or cup to get the most out of what these tools can offer!

~ Kimberly Martin, M.A., CCC/SLP


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