A SEVEN-month-old baby can use a cup, says Curtin speech pathologist and inventor Wendy Saclier.
“I want to give children independence and confidence. They want to do it on their own and that’s important for all children,” she says.
And it’s all about the tucking of the chin that is optimal for concentration and control that children need to learn in order to drink independently.
“We concentrate best in a seated position. We tuck our chins when eating, drinking but also when we are reading and writing,” says Wendy.
“Babies learn to anticipate things from below their gaze, so I recommend babies are offered new things from below rather than above as it gives them better control. They can see what’s happening and don’t get a fright.”
Having worked with babies and young children for more than 20 years, specialising in early intervention support, Wendy saw an influx of sippy cups and bottles on the market and became increasingly frustrated by a lack of appropriately designed drinking vessels. Wendy saw an opportunity to create a regular, child-sized cup that is designed just for them, in particular to help young children with feeding difficulties.
She invented the WREMS drinCUP in 1998 and it was trialled at childcare centres and local child health organisations over that time. Now Wendy is hoping to share the cup with families once again and has launched a website to take orders. The cups cost $15.70.
“There is a lot of grazing these days and distractions of sounds and lights. It is common for children to sit and eat in front of the television. What I am building into the cup is a social element where children have to concentrate,” she says.
The cup simplistic symmetry is designed for small mouths, with two handles. It is clear plastic so children can anticipate and control the contents of the cup. It also features a picture of a cat on the inside bottom, to encourage children to seek and find it, rather than be distracted by images on the outside of a cup.
“The outside lip is curved to encourage the pursing of lips, and swallowing using the back part of the tongue,” says Wendy.
Wendy says that it is a skill that every child must learn and she dedicated her career to helping children with feeding issues.
“There is so much joy when you see a child master independent drinking, it is such a special part of working with families and helping build a child’s independence.
And, yes, babies can drink from a cup!”
Orders to wrems.com.au