As a pediatric dentist, I get a lot of questions about sippy cups and which one I prefer. And I do not blame parents! How are you to know? Hard tip, soft tip, 360, straw… the options go on and on.
I like to follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) because I feel like the information they provide has the most research supporting it. The AAPD recommends a cup with a snap or screw-on lid with no valve to allow the child to sip and not suck on the liquid. They recommend a cup with handles so children can hold on to the cup easier. And lastly, it is recommended that the cup have a weighted bottom to prevent spills.
The AAPD website quotes Dr. Burton Edelstein regarding sippy cups. “Limit bottles and sippy cups. If your child totes around a sippy cup all day or sleeps with a bottle at night, the sugars in formula, milk, or juice will pool around his teeth and allow cavity-causing bacteria to flourish, says Parents advisor Burton Edelstein, D.D.S., M.P.H., founding director of the Children’s Dental Health Project.”
It is not recommended that children carry around sippy cups throughout the day or be put to bed with a sippy cup at nap and nighttime. The American Academy of Pediatrics changed its recommendations a few years back stating that fruit juices are not recommended for children. Due to their high sugar content, juices do not benefit the child’s diet, and they make children more prone to cavities.
- What is IN the sippy cup is the most important thing!
- Water is best for drinking throughout the day
- Keep juices (including diluted juices), milk, and sodas to mealtimes or special occasions
- Do NOT let your child go to nap or bedtime with a sippy cup
- Use ANY sippy cup your child prefers, but do not allow him or her to carry it around throughout the day
I wish children came with an all-inclusive handbook, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Many parents feel an overwhelming amount of stress about making a mistake when it comes to raising their children. To be honest, there are a lot of things to worry about in this world, and sippy cups should not fall anywhere on that list!