No More Bottle: How To Choose The Best Sippy Cup (2018 Guide)
A sippy cup isn’t just another item that takes up space in your kitchen cabinet—it’s actually an important item that plays a significant role in your baby’s developmental milestones!
A sippy cup signals no more bottle, which means your little one isn’t quite a baby anymore.
Their needs are changing, they are getting stronger by the day, and more and more independent as well.
So, foster your baby’s development by choosing the best sippy cup for their little hands to hold and tiny mouth to drink from.
When Is My Baby Ready?
Your baby is ready for a sippy cup when they continuously clutch onto their bottle while you’re feeding them.
They may also reach for their own bottle, guide it to their own mouth while you’re holding it, push it out of their mouth when you’re feeding them, and may also show an interest in the cup or bottled water you’re drinking from.
Generally, when your baby is about six months of age (although some are ready a little earlier, while others are ready much later), sits up with very limited support, holds their own bottle, and also begins to show interest in self-feeding solids (bananas, cereal, etc.), they are probably ready to hold their own cup.
What If My Baby Isn't Ready?
As stated above, most babies are ready for a sippy cup around six months of age.
But, it may take some little ones longer.
If your baby is functioning normally with all their other developmental milestones, is making eye contact, and is responding to verbal cues (and also making their own sounds or even attempting words), just give them time.
You may want to try is strengthening exercises for their hands and fingers.
Dangle enticing objects above them, making them reach for it. Clasp something tightly in your hands and try to get them to pull it away from you.
Or, simply just expose them to textured objects of all kinds of shapes and sizes that they can pick up, reach for, put down, roll, and explore.
These little physical motor exercises could make all the difference and speed things up a bit.
Some intervention may be needed, or a further examination.
How Many Sippy Cups Should I Buy?
In my opinion, you can never have too many sippy cups!
I’d suggest having no less than 5 on hand at one time. This way, you can ensure one is always washed and ready to go while your others are in the dishwasher or M.I.A. (as they often tend to be).
You can keep a cup in your diaper bag, at your in-law’s house, and even at your child care facility.
Different Types of Sippy Cups
There are a few different types of sippy cups to consider. Each does have some pros and cons.
The main types you’ll come across in stores are plastic, silicone, or glass.
Plastic sippy cups are transparent, so you can monitor how much your little one is drinking, and how much you initially pour in.
These cups are also lightweight, and virtually break/shatter proof.
In addition, they don’t “sweat” as much as other cups do, so you don’t have to worry about them being slippery, or leaving an unsightly ring around your coffee table.
Plastic cups can carry a negative connotation since they used to be made with BPA, which proved to be harmful to your child’s health (so now BPA is banned).
These cups are also a bit more difficult to clean because they can get scratched and scuffed up quite a bit if dropped or punctured.
And, these little scratches and holes can harbor bacteria.
Silicone sippy cups are easy and comfortable to hold. They are also slip resistant, strong, and non-toxic.
They also tend to keep cool beverages cold when out of the fridge longer than some other kinds of cups. Silicone doesn’t break or scratch easily either, so it’s pretty flexible, resilient, and durable overall.
Many silicone cups aren’t transparent, so it’s difficult to see how much liquid is being consumed, and also can be challenging if you’re trying to measure out a pour.
Glass bottles are very easy to clean. They aren’t known to scratch easily, so therefore they don’t attract bacteria or other germies.
They're durable, high quality, and they keep drinks extra cold when stored it the fridge. They're also transparent, so pouring and monitoring how much your baby is drinking is a snap.
Glass sippy cups will break if dropped. And, little, learning hands can drop cups quite frequently.
So, glass cups have to be monitored closely when in use!
Aluminum sippy cups are very durable. They don’t tend to scratch, and if made well, also will not dent if dropped.
They keep hot drinks warm, and cold drinks cool, and they’re also good for the environment because it's made of recycled material.
These sippy cups tend to be pretty big, and don’t offer a lot of sipping options.
They're often designed with nipples or hard spouts—not much in between.
Different Types of Spouts
In addition to the different types of cups your little one can drink from, there are also a few different types of spouts you can choose from. They include:
Hard spouts are often built into the lid and are definitely hard, so they don’t offer any give or anything to really nibble on.
They have a flow that comes out pretty quickly unless it boasts a stopper feature (which many don’t).
Hard spouts are designed for more advanced sippy cup drinkers who are getting ready to transition to drinking without a lid.
Soft spouts are glorified nipples. They aren’t exactly nipple shaped (but some can be), but they are soft, flexible, comforting, and on the small side.
They help satisfy the urge to suck and are great for weaning off a bottle.
These spouts can usually be swapped out for new ones when needed.
They too may come with stoppers until your baby is ready to handle a faster flow.
Straw spouts are great for babies who are moving on from a soft spout, or for those who are using more of a plastic take and toss cup.
Straws can be soft and flexible, or hard and rigid.
It's suggested you start with flexible straws first before moving on to the latter.
Tips for Getting Your Baby to Use a Sippy Cup
If you think your little one is showing signs of readiness, here are some steps you can take to get them to use a cup on their own.
First, place the sippy cup you wish to try in front of them without anything in it. Let them explore the cup with their eyes and hands. Instinct is a pretty powerful thing, and chances are, if your baby is ultra-observant, they will know just what to do!
Next, guide your baby’s hands to the side of the cup. It's wise to use handles initially, for a sturdier, supportive grip. With your hands on top of your little one’s, help them bring the spout up to their mouth. When you feel like they’re holding strongly onto the cup, let go.
Finally, tell your baby to suck. This can take some patience, especially if they are first weaning from a bottle. You may even want to model for them what to do until they build confidence with this developmental milestone. Practice every day at each meal until your baby is going for the cup on their own and sipping with ease. Be patient—it will happen!
Are There Downsides to Using a Sippy Cup?
Sippy cups do have some downsides.
Some experts believe that drinking from a sippy for a long period of time can affect your little one’s oral health as much as putting them to bed with a bottle.
Fluid can also pool around their teeth and erode their enamel, which leads to painful tooth decay.
Also, tooth development may be delayed or even effected.
Some doctors also feel that overuse of a sippy cup could have a similar impact as overusing a pacifier in regard to speech.
Some even believe that if a sippy cup is to be used at all, that a straw spout is the best choice because the sucking motion helps strengthen mouth muscles, which could improve and promote speech.
Keep These Tips in Mind ...
When introducing a sippy cup for the first time, or even when your child’s cup is in full use, these tips may be helpful for any parent:
Dip the cup’s spout in breast milk. This will get your baby’s attention and help you have better success with getting them to drink from the spout, instead of your breast or bottle’s nipple.
Swap your bottle for a cup half way though out your feeding. If your baby is hungry, they’re going to want to continue eating. This helps them figure out how to get more milk, and willingly try the new cup and spout. But, if it doesn’t happen right away, stay calm and just keep trying until it does!
Try a different cup. Just like a bottle a one size fits all approach does not always work. Just pick up a cup or two initially, because you never know if your baby will like it or not.
Try a different spout. Again, babies can be choosy with spouts, just like they’re choosy with cups. You have to go with trial and error and stick with what works.
Inspect your cup regularly. Sippy cup spouts house lots of debris from a dishwasher, and can even harbor bacteria or mold if not cleaned properly.
Features to Consider When Shopping
If your baby is ready to drink from a sippy cup, and you have decided on the style and spout to try, here are few important features to consider with shopping for a cup:
Minimal nook and crannies. Fewer parts, ridges, curves, and vents mean less stuff hanging around in little, hard to reach areas.
Safety. Always make sure the cup you choose is made from BPA free materials.
Interchangeable spouts. Spouts that can be swapped out when dirty, worn out, or when your baby needs a change (soft to hard, hard to straw, etc.), are always helpful and more cost-effective than replacing an entire cup.
Removable handles. Handles are nice at first, but the point of a sippy cup is to prepare your baby for the real thing—a regular cup. Choose a sippy that boasts removable handles so you can guide your baby appropriately.
Leak-proof. If it leaks, forget it. When you get a sippy cup out of it’s packaging, the first thing you should conduct is a leak test. Shake it from every which way and if it has liquid flying everywhere, send the cup back!
Hard cap. A cap is useful when you’re traveling with a sippy cup. It prevents a mess from forming in your diaper bag and in your car.
Clips. Clips are great because they help ensure your cup stays off the ground and away from germs and bacteria. Plus, you don’t have to be as vigilant about keeping it in one place as you’d be with a non-clipped cup.
Insulated. Who doesn’t love a nice cold beverage? When you purchase an insulated cup, you can ensure your little one has a chilled drink regardless of the temperature around them.
When your baby drinks from a sippy cup, there are a few things to consider in regard to their safety.
You should also never send your baby to bed with a sippy cup either.
Besides being an obvious safety concern, drinking milk or any other kind of sugary beverage and going to sleep without their mouth being wiped out could cause an oral condition called Bottle Rot.
You also want to monitor your baby’s behavior as they initially sip from a cup.
They may be ready to hold a cup, but actually handling the flow from the cup is a different story.
You should do some investigating to see if they are gagging, not getting all the liquid in their mouth, or repeatedly dribbling it everywhere.
If this is the case, it could pose a potential health risk, and a stopped should be used, or you may need to hold off on the cup.
This cup from Munchkin (click here to check the price on Amazon) is made of BPA-free plastic and has a soft, silicone spout.
It’s easy for little mouths to manipulate, and it’s ultra-flexible. Because it is small and easy to hold thanks to it’s removable, easy to grip handles, a baby as young as four months can start to train with this cup.
Its lid fits ultra-snug, so you don’t have to worry about leaks and spills.
It also has a useful valve, which prevents air bubbles from forming. So, it will reduce gas and fussiness, which is important when a baby is still drinking from a bottle or a new cup.
Plus, it’s spout can be replaced and its nipple is interchangeable. So, you can adjust your flow, size, and shape as your baby grows.
Parents also love how easy it is to clean the cup. You can toss it in the dishwasher, in a boiling pot of water to sterilize, or even steam clean it.
Parents also feel it’s a great cup to introduce to a breastfeeding baby since many have had luck with latching and zero nipple confusion.
Overall, it’s a great transition cup mainly because of it’s compact size, ergonomic handles, and soft, simple to drink from spout.
Munchkin’s Miracle 360 cup (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a favorite among parents of toddlers. Why?
It’s designed for toddlers over a year of age and it’s easy to hold and sip from. In fact, the cup automatically seals when a little one stops drinking.
It has a 360 degree drinking edge, which eliminates spills completely. So, needless to say, it’s a super cup for little hands to hold around the house and even in the car.
You can literally turn it upside down and nothing will come out! The cup is also easy to clean because it has no extra valves or parts that collect food debris if tossed in the dishwasher (just put it on the top rack).
In addition, dentists recommend this cup because long term use doesn’t impede on any kind of oral development or hygiene issues that can sometimes develop with the use of spouts (especially hard ones).
Plus, the cup helps strengthen arm muscles and works on developing control when sipping, unlike other toddler cups available.
Sold in a two pack in multiple colors, the cups design, function, and style are perfect for growing and developing minds, bodies, and hands.
Some children prefer a hard spout over a soft one, and some parents prefer it as well since it helps prevent their child from chewing on a soft straw or spout, and in essence, ruining it.
Nuk’s hard spout cup (click here to check the price on Amazon) is ideal for active little ones. It comes in assorted colors and patterns and it’s very lightweight, so it’s easy for little hands to carry around.
It can even be clipped onto their clothing or the side of your diaper bag for ease of transport (and simply put, to stay off the floor).
The hard spout promotes sipping, rather than sucking. So, it’s ideal for transitioning from the bottle to a cup.
Its spout is spill-proof, and is also designed to be gentle on gums. It’s also dishwasher safe and BPA free.
Plus, because it’s hard, it can stand up to the mightiest of falls or throws. The spout is not interchangeable or replaceable, so a new cup will need to be purchased if a replacement part is in order.
Overall, it’s a sturdy, safely designed cup, that can withstand the most active toddler, a year or older.
This little cup from Avent is perfect for a breastfed baby who is ready to transition into feeding himself.
Philips Avent My Easy Sippy (click here to check the price on Amazon) boasts a secure and easy grip.
It has a soft silicone spout, which mimics the shape and feel of a natural nipple, and is flexible and soothing, which is important when a little one transitions from breast to bottle or cup.
The sippy won’t spill when toppled over or dropped. It’s design has a one-piece built in valve for smooth sipping.
The cup is composed of three parts, but they are easy to assemble/disassemble and clean.
Composed of BPA-materials, the cup is also safe to be placed in the dishwasher or sterilization system. In addition, it’s compatible with the Philips Avent Natural and Classic bottle range, and other trainer cups, like the My Natural trainer and My classic trainer.
So, it’s a cup that grows with your baby and their unique drinking needs.
The cups are sold in a two pack, with snap on/off lids for safe storing and transport, and are most ideal for babies who are aged nine months or older.
Munchkin’s Click Lock trainer cup (click here to check the price on Amazon) has lots of useful features for babies who are starting to become more independent and who are showing signs of readiness to drink from a cup, rather than a bottle.
It’s claim is to be a cup that can keep up with your kiddo. And, it’s that and much, much more.
So, the cup is designed for a baby to drink from any angle. Either way your little one chooses to tilt their head, the cup’s straw moves with them, ensuring that they can get liquid no matter which way they go.
Its flip top lid and click lock leak proof function also makes this cup perfect for on the go use.
Its handles are easy to hold and grip, but they are not detachable. It’s straw is not soft and flexible, so it’s not easy to chew or puncture.
Because it can take some babies more time than others to get used to drinking from a straw, be patient before trying something different!
Munchkin’s 360 degree cup couldn’t get more perfect, right? Wrong!
Much like it’s plastic non-spill sippy, it comes finished in stainless steel as the Munchkin Miracle (click here to check the price on Amazon). So, it keeps your baby’s drink cooler, longer.
In fact, because it's composed with premium insulation, its vacuum seal is able to keep drinks cold for up to 15 hours. This is obviously very beneficial on hot, summer days!
It has an on-the-go cup lid, which can eliminate spills. So, it automatically seals when your child isn’t sipping from it.
In addition, it’s safe to be placed on the top rack of your dishwasher. So, it is easy to clean and it also has no extra valves or parts, so nothing will get stuck in little nooks and crannies.
It’s ideal for children twelve months and up, so help your little one strengthen their mouth muscles and their motor development and coordination by letting them sip mess free on their own.
Gerber Graduates boast a fun to hold and fun to drink from cup (click here to check the price on Amazon).
And, another added bonus is that it’s leak-free. What parent doesn’t love that?
It boasts an easy to grip texture and also a bite resistant spout. It’s also backed by 100% spill proof, seal proof technology. So, parents don’t have to worry about liquid leaking out and getting a little one wet, staining their clothes, or dripping in their car.
The hard cup is also ultra-durable, so it can withstand lots of falls, tosses, and kicks. The colorful cup’s hourglass shape also prevents it from tipping over. And, lids can easily be replaced when a new spout is in order.
In addition, it’s dishwasher safe and it comes in a variety of colors.
Ideal for ages six months and up, it’s a perfect spill-free transition cup for your little one to practice with.
In order to maintain the cup’s proficiency with use, many parents recommend that it be washed with hot water and mild dish soap when not putting it on the top rack in your dishwasher.
Also, parents indicate to not use a nipple brush or any other object to clean the valve, as it may result in damage.
The cups are also meant to be used with milk, water, and non-pulp juice or non-carbonated beverages.
Munchkin’s Alphabet cup (click here to check the price on Amazon) is ideal to be used in conjunction with milk.
Perfect for nine months or older, the two set of cups is made of BPA free plastic, and has a hard sippy spout to discourage sucking and chewing, and promoting sipping.
It has just one piece: a spill proof valve, so it’s a cinch to clean.
The hard cup holds just the right amount of milk, is durable and can withstand falls and throws, and is also easy to grip and hold.
Plus, it’s designed in fun, bright colors, and is adorned with letters, so your little one will enjoy drinking from it, but learning from it as well.
Plus, it’s transparent design allows you to keep a close eye on how much your baby is drinking.
Nuk’s Silicone Spout cup (click here to check the price on Amazon) boasts a silicone spout and claims that it’s a cup that both mom and baby will love—and they do!
A wonderful cup to help support the transition from bottle to cup, it's designed for babies who can handle drinking without the need for grippies or handles. The spout is soft and gentle on their teeth and gums, which is important if they are in the midst of teething.
The cup is leak-proof, spill-proof, and break-proof. So, it’s the ultimate trifecta. In addition to being fully functional, it boasts a cute and playful design.
Toss it in your diaper bag or stroller storage and go, all thanks to its hard cap. Your spout will stay clean and germ-free at all times.
Speaking of germ free, the cup also has a carrying clip, so moms don’t have to worry about it falling on the ground.
It’s dishwasher safe, made of BPA free ingredients, and is ultra lightweight for any little one to hold.
Plus, it promote anti-air technology in it’s spout, so you don’t have to worry about your baby ingesting in too many air pockets or bubbles, and dealing with bouts of fussiness, gas, or an upset tummy.
Some parents are hesitant to give their baby anything composed of glass. But, glass sippy cups can be pretty awesome, especially this one from Green Sprouts (click here to check the price on Amazon).
Many parents feel they are safe from the inside out, unlike plastic cups (despite the fact that the use of BPA has been exiled in the manufacturing of cups).
In fact, the liquid in your child’s sippy cup will only touch silicone and borosilicate glass. The cups come complete with two straw drinking options—traditional and tilted (tilted better support oral health).
Both spouts are drip-free and they boast a vented free flow, which helps aid more naturally in the transition between breast to bottle/cup.
In addition, the cups are non-slip, shock absorbing, and its base helps resist breaks. However, breaks can and will happen if dropped with enough force, so always closely monitor your child when drinking from a glass cup.
Parents also love that the lids are interchangeable with one another and they can grow with the child.
Glass is also easier to clean than plastic cups. In fact, much like silicone, it’s main component is silica (sand).
So, it is more chemically stable and will not absorb tastes or odors, giving your baby a more enjoyable drinking experience.
And, if your baby enjoys drinking from their cup, they are more likely to consume more than enough water throughout their day.
The transition from bottle to sippy cup is a big jump. But, this training is necessary.
Until your child can control a cup without a lid, a sippy is perfect practice.
With so many amazing cups on the market to choose from, it may be difficult to select just one. Consider the suggested cups above because they are the best in their field.
They have lots of great features that helps keep your little one safe, are easy to clean, they help strengthen their muscles and skills, and also help them satisfy the independence they’re craving.
Your little one will be ready to bust out of the bottle before you know it.
Be prepared with the perfect cup!