How to teach cup drinking in children with Down Syndrome


Once again…thank you to Lori Overland….for all that you have taught me and shared….helping me to help so many mamas all over the world.

Between six and eight months of age you can start teaching cup drinking to your little one.  Using the cut out nosey cups offered through helps your little one in learning cup drinking skills.  It is important that you thicken up the formula…as a liquid is the most difficult consistency for a little one to manage.  So she will have a more difficult time managing this thin liquid from a cup then she does from a bottle…why…because when she is sucking out of the bottle..a smaller amount is drawn from the nipple…however…when drinking from an open cup….a larger amount will enter your little one’s mouth…and she would have a more difficult time in managing the thin liquid….and you do not want to risk aspiration!  So…in order to teach open cup drinking…and to be sure that your little one can manage the liquid…you can thicken up her formula using this simple recipe:


Rice Cereal


By increasing the taste of the formula….by adding the cinnamon…you are also giving good sensory feedback (due to the increase in the flavor).

Another simple recipe:

Baby bananas

Apple sauce

Add either water or formula

Add cinnamon or nutmeg

Now… will have to address postural stability….so be sure that your little one is sitting upright….you can put her on your lap so that you can also help with lip closure:

~Place your middle finger under her jaw

~Pointer finger under her lower lip

~Give her one sip..take the cup away…help with lip closure with your two fingers.

~So it is one sip…help with lip closure and swallow.


Now….when you get her to drink five or six single swallows…this means she has taken one sip and then swallowed it…and she did this five to six times consecutively….AND she has lip closure and her tongue is retracting….you can now present two sips of the liquid with the one swallow.

 When can you thin out the consistency-when your little one does not need support and she has lip closure and tongue retraction.

Post with any questions.

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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