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How to Teach Straw Drinking

Straw drinking 🥤 some babies get it right away, others need extra support. Here are 4 things you can try to help your baby learn:

1️⃣ Model drinking from the straw yourself: babies learn so well from watching and imitating you! You can use your own straw cup, or, even better, use one of theirs. Make your straw drinking exaggerated and tell them what you’re doing - “my turn to drink water, watch me use the straw! Suck the water, yummy!”

2️⃣ Let baby come to the straw: hold the cup with the straw near their mouth and let them come to it and put their mouth on it. We want to try not to shove the straw into their mouth, and instead give them the control. Let them lead! This will help them become more independent with bringing the straw to their mouth in the future.

3️⃣ Let them explore by mouthing the straw: so much learning at this age (6 months+) comes from exploring and mouthing. It may feel frustrating that they’re “just chewing” on the straw, but this is actually really beneficial! They’re mapping their mouth and figuring out where to place the straw, their tongue, and their lips to suck out the liquid.

4️⃣ Use the pipette method (shown in this video): put the straw into the cup and place your fingertip on the top of it to trap the liquid in the straw. Place the end of the straw with the liquid inside it into baby’s mouth. Wait for them to close/round their lips around the straw, then slowly release your finger from the straw so the liquid comes out into their mouth. Repeat this several times, adding a pause before releasing the water to give baby a chance to suck. After a while of this, try putting the straw back in the cup and letting baby suck from it on their own.

Practice, practice, practice! The more chances baby has to practice, the quicker they’ll learn.

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