So there is a seemingly insignificant, little milestone that most people, even those with Down syndrome, take for granted, and that is using a straw. When I had the bear cub, I read everything I could on Ds, and I read that children with Ds shouldn't use traditional sippy cups because it wasn't ideal for tongue and mouth strength. The suggestion is typically to encourage your child to use a straw cup or drink from an open cup. Most parents choose a straw cup for obvious reasons and the average age to get this seems to be about 8 months. I was surprised when I found this out because the nerdlet didn't seem to get using the straw until she was 14 or 15 months, well after using an open cup.
I started trying the bear cub on the straw at about 6 months. I have tried every day for her to use it since and it has even been on her therapy goals the last three times (and the goals are redone every six months). I tried everything that was suggested to me. I tried every straw cup out there and every time Q or I had a drink with a straw we would let her try it out. I tried juice boxes and Caprisuns and filling a straw will partial liquid to give to her. I did all the mouth awareness exercises suggested by the two speech therapists and pretty much any other weird suggestion I was given. I tried some sort of straw every single day for over 1 1/2 years.
The bear cub hasn't really lagged behind on most milestones. She used her first sign at around six months and had about twenty signs at eighteen months. She was rolling over both ways at six months. She started crawling at 10 months. The first milestone she missed was walking and it didn't seem to bother me. I knew and know that she will get there when she is ready. For some reason, she had a block in regards to using the straw, and it was getting me to me...big time.
Anyway, during the middle of my nephew's graduation, I offered her the Rubbermaid reusable juice box and she sucked from it. This was one of the first cups that I tried with her and the one that I used most often. It is like the pre-filled juice boxes in that you can squeeze it slightly and a little will come up the top. Anyway, when she started sucking and drinking, I completely lost it. I started bawling and couldn't stop. It is amazing how important this tiny little thing had come to me.
The graduation was Friday night and I decided that I was going to stop the bottles cold turkey, but when I got up Saturday, Q had already given the bear cub a morning bottle. I wanted that one, at least, to be the last one. She fussed and complained and refused to put the straw cup in her mouth, much less drink. She continued with this the whole day. The next day, she seemed to follow the same path. I would force the straw into her mouth and squeeze a little every half hour or so. Before lunch, yesterday, she finally gave in and started drinking full amounts. Q did not approve. He feels that the goal was to learn to use the straw and didn't see why I was pushing getting her off the bottle so much when she clearly was/is very attached to it and miserable being forced to use the cup. I know that I see children with only 46 chromosomes using bottles at 2 and 3 all the time, so was I wrong to push the transition so quickly after she learned to use a straw?