Friday, September 10, 2010

Need to Stop Talk Tools Straw Hierarchy? Part 2

Thank you for all the great comments!  I'm going to attempt to respond to a few of them a little later in this post.  First though here is a quick update...I purchased that Playtex spoutless cup and it has the same valves as most sippy cups which seemed strange to me.  I'm guessing you have to try to suction liquid, but it's like a cup so that doesn't seem very logical.  Anyway, I put water in it without the valve and the hole is so small that a pretty small stream of water flowed from it.  I then decided to see how it would handle the honey thick liquids (milk is what I used) and when I turned the cup upside down after a few seconds one little drop came out, but that was it.  So, that cup is a bust for most of her drinks since the only thing she can have not thickened is pure water.  We will try to use the cup for water and see how she does with it.  Getting her to drink water is a whole separate post, but the gist of it is that she loves to "drink" it, but then spits it right back out at you and wants to do it again.  Yeah, a blast!

Apparently my brain was working a little last night as the thought hit me that we did the swallow study using straws.  Shouldn't that clear us?  Well, I thought it did until I re-read the report and it said that she took one swallow from the straw of honey thick and was fine but then on the next sip she started gagging and spitting it out.  I don't think it was an aspiration issue, just Sweet Pea being Sweet Pea, but because of that performance they switched to spoon feeding her the honey thick and determining that she could handle it.  Isn't spoon feeding VERY different from drinking from a straw?!?  Why wouldn't they have tried the straw again since they knew that is how we typically fed her?  They didn't tell us we had to spoon feed her the liquids, but since that is what they tested for 4 swallows that would seem like what was proven safe.  Grrrr!!!!  I'm extremely agitated because I had my hopes all up that this was solved by them testing using the straws.  The one thing in our favor is that they were using the regular flexible straws and not the much smaller diameter straws that we are on right now as part of the Talk Tools straw hierarchy.

Our SLP is going to evaluate her next week sometime to determine if she thinks it is safe.  Since this will be her first time actually watching her drink from the straw, I'm hoping that she will acquiesce and let us continue.  It is a little insane that she hasn't even seen her drink from the straw and yet she has been so opposed to us using it.  Hopefully next week I will have some better news on the topic.  Until then, we will continue to use the straws and hope for the best!

As for answering some of the comments:
Brandie mentioned Munchkin straw cups. We used these before our appointment with Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson in May when she had us move to the straws in her hierarchy.  We were bummed because the munchkin cups were so easy for daycare and for traveling, but we have found that The First Years Take and Toss Straw CupsThe First Years/Learning Curve Take & Toss Straw Sippers, 4 Pack, Colors May Vary are pretty easy and the straw hole fits the Talk Tools straws very well.  Open cups with straws aren't very easy even when we are holding them because Sweet Pea wants to stick her hand inside the cup and that little girl is quick!  She also mentioned Thick-It and I have to say that while I haven't used Thick-It, I personally swear by Simply Thick.  We love that it doesn't continue to thicken over time which would be a real issue for us since we make a bulk batch of milk each morning for her to drink throughout the day at daycare.  I wish it were less expensive, but we buy the bulk containers and just deal with the cost and hope that Sweet Pea won't require us to thicken everything for too long.  Wishful thinking, I know!

I like the idea of the two sippy cup recommendations from Kristin for the Nuk Gerber BPA Free Sip and Smile and the Dr. Browns Training Cup.  If we go the sippy cup path those will definitely be the first that I try!

Pudge & Zippy's mom shared that LC's therapist actually had her learning on wide mouthed straws, but actually learned to handle liquids after improving her lateral tongue movements using solid foods. Sweet Pea's straw is very narrow and it seems hard to drink through compared to a typical width straw.  I'm wondering if I'm crazy about the narrow being hard to drink through.  Maybe really wide mouthed straws are even harder because forming the seal would be difficult, but it seems that would bring with it too much liquid.  Very interesting though!  And I totally agree with the thought that her swallowing and overall oral motor skills will improve as she gets better eating solid foods.  We are giving her more and more foods to try out and her chewing is definitely improving.  Slowly improving, but improving which is what matters.

 I asked the same question as Erin!  An open cup can bring in SO much liquid!  How is that better than a straw?  The SLP said it was our responsibility to make sure Sweet Pea was only getting a very small amount of liquid with each sip.  Not only would that make feedings last for hours, but is that really a reasonable thing to expect our daycare to do?  Ha!  Not going to happen!

This recessed lid cup product from Talk Tools that Aimee looks like a good possibility, but I'm afraid of how small the holes are for it too.  Spending $11 + shipping for something that may not work is not terrible, but it's not something I'm looking forward to.  I should ask her to try to pour honey through it and let me know if it works.  I love the handles that this cup has as I think Sweet Pea would like that.  And the size of it seems really handy because she wouldn't have any issue drinking from it when in her high chair with the tray on.  That is often an issue with the larger, taller containers.

Looking Up shared another product offered by Talk Tools, the infa-trainer cup.  It's price tag is even higher at $16 though so I'm really going to delay that one.  Yes, I'm cheap frugal, but considering we need at least 3 cups, it adds up quickly.  I think her idea of finding an SLP that was on board with Talk Tools methods is really what we need to do.  We will be switching insurance companies soon and that will open up a few more options for us.  It is ridiculous that living in a huge metropolitan area, our insurance only has one in network provider within 35 minutes (and that is without traffic which means traveling at midnight).  I digress...

Thank you again to all the mommies that added their input.  I'll keep you posted on the outcome of our meeting with the SLP next week.  Think positive thoughts!!!!


  1. Hey! So I just tried pouring honey through our lids- well, not honey because all of ours is crystallized and didn't cooperate, so I put corn syrup through. There are two lids- one that has one 1/4" (about) hole, and one that has two 1/8" (about) holes. The smaller holes have about the same diameter as the hole in the talk tools straws. The bigger hole is about the size of a standard straw. It came through the bigger hole FINE with no problems at all. The littler ones were A LOT slower. I'm not sure what exactly it should look like for Sweet Pea- maybe try and find something with a 1/4" hole (even a straw, maybe?) and see what it looks like coming out? Good luck! :)

  2. Thanks for keeping us posted. I have no doubt that you will figure out what works best for you & Sweet Pea. :)

  3. Good Luck. We use the take and toss cups with Lindsey.

  4. Don't you just love spending money on cups that won't work! I always wished I could try them out and return them. I agree, swallow studies are so frustrating. I was pg when Goldie had hers, so I couldn't go in and give orders.