Rachel’s baby is six months old. She wants to gradually move him away from breast milk and introduce formula and water. However, bottle is not an option for her as she didn’t want her son to get habituated to it. That’s when her friend told her about the sippy cups.
Sippy cups are suitable for babies older than six months. Liquids such as water and formula milk are among the first your baby will consume, and he can drink them using a sippy cup. These cups come in a host of shapes and sizes, providing the baby a sense of autonomy, as he can hold and sip his food at his pace.
Here, MomJunction tells you everything about these convenient cups and provides a list of 21 best sippy cups for your little one.
What Is A Sippy Cup?
Sippy cups are designed for babies to drink liquids without spilling. The cups train the little ones to drink on their own in small sips without making a mess everywhere, hence the name sippy. They act as a link in the transition from breast/bottle feeding to drinking from a conventional open cup. They control the flow of the liquid through a straw, spout, or tiny grooves.
When To Introduce A Sippy Cup?Sponsored
You can introduce a baby to a sippy cup at the age of six months, which coincides with the time when they start weaning. Babies can be fed formula milk, water, and thin purees using the cup. You can also feed expressed breast milk in it.
Bottle Vs. Sippy Cup:
Babies naturally prefer bottles to cups since drinking from a bottle is convenient and similar to drinking from a breast.
However, a bottle makes the baby’s teeth prone to cavities and also he may develop an attachment to the bottle. Just like breastfeeding, bottle feeding too can become a rigid routine (1). It is for this reason that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that bottles be gradually phased out between 12 and 24 months of age (2). If you haven’t introduced a sippy cup to your baby earlier, then you can plan to do so at least from his first birthday.
What’s The Best Way To Transition To A Sippy Cup?
Teaching your baby to use a sippy cup is challenging but is important to make him slowly discard the bottle. Here is a simple step-by-step process to teach your baby to drink from a sippy cup.
Step 1: Identify his bottled food
Assess what your baby eats from the bottle – water, formula milk, or water-based food such as thin purees. You can use the sippy cup for feeding water and milk (formula or breast).
If your baby primarily eats thin purees or preparations such as rice water, then start feeding them with a small spoon. He may resist eating initially but will relent when he is hungry.
Step 2: Choose a sippy cup with a soft spout
Babies have a strong sucking reflex, which enables them to latch on to their mothers’ breasts properly (3). This is the reason they prefer the soft nipple of a bottle. So, when choosing a sippy cup, select one that has a soft and pliable silicone-made spout that resembles the nipple of the bottle. This will help the baby learn to drink from a sippy cup faster and will elicit a quicker sucking reflex with minimal fuss.
Step 3: Replace bottle feeding sessions with sippy cup episodes
If your baby bottle-feeds thrice a day, then switch one bottle feeding session with sippy cup. Your baby might be confused at the beginning, but will soon get used to the cup. If the baby is old enough, then you can train him to hold the cup in his hands and guide the spout into his mouth. Tip the cup upwards slightly to make the milk flow into his mouth, and then slowly leave your grip to let your baby drink on his own.
You may have to support the cup with one hand as your baby cannot hold the bottle immediately after you introduce it.
Step 4: Make the bottle go out of sight
Make the baby’s bottle a history by increasing the number of feeds from the sippy cup. Keep the bottle away from your baby’s reach and field of vision so that he is not reminded of it.
What To Do If Your Child Refuses Sippy Cup?
If your baby constantly rejects drinking from the sippy cup, then you could dip the spout in milk before putting it in his mouth. Older infants can be coaxed to drink from sippy cup if they see an adult drinking from it. So buy one for yourself exclusively for demonstration purposes!
Remember, a sippy cup is meant to help your baby switch from a bottle or breastfeeding to a regular open cup. Therefore, do not hesitate in trying as many cups as you can to figure out the best one for your baby. Most drinking cups are priced reasonably, which means you can experiment with them.
Types Of Sippy Cups:
You can choose from a plethora of sippy cup designs of various shapes and sizes, with five broad categories.
1. Trainer cups for infants:
Trainer cups are made for young babies between six and nine months. The characteristic feature of these cups is the presence of two handles that help in easy gripping. They are small and lightweight to make them portable for the baby. The spout can be soft or hard depending on the design.
2. Spouted cups:
These are the classic sippy cups made for babies and toddlers of individual age groups. They have a conventional design of a plastic cup with a spouted cap at the top. These work great for older infants and toddlers.
3. Straw sippy cups:
As the name suggests, these are sippy cups with inserted straw in place of a spout. Some babies find it easier to drink from a straw than a spout and this sippy cup is made exactly for those children.
4. Rimless or 360-degrees sippy cups:
Rimless cups look like standard cups meant for adults but actually have a closed mouth with the presence of small slits on the mouth-disc. This helps control the flow of the liquid when the baby is drinking from the cup and more closely resembles drinking from a cup meant for adults. The baby can drink from anywhere on the rim, which is why the cup is called 360-degrees cup.
There can be numerous design variations within each category, which means sippy cup options and choices are aplenty.
How To Select A Sippy Cup?
You may be overwhelmed with the number of sippy cup options in the market, but must have a keen eye for a stipulated set of features. Here is a checklist for the next time you go sippy cup shopping.
- Select a well-trusted brand: Choose a brand or a manufacturer that has expertise in making sippy cups for babies. Explore a bit about the company and its history to determine if it is a legitimate manufacturer of baby products. There have been cases when a manufacturer has recalled cups due to the formation of molds in the internal valve of the cup (4). Educate yourself about past recalls and other probable defects before choosing a brand.
- Choose non-toxic materials: Sippy cups are made from plastic, which itself can be made from certain toxic materials such as bisphenol A (BPA). Make it a point to select sippy cups that are BPA-free and have non-toxic coloring. Also, take a look at the build quality of the plastic to determine if it is sturdy. Stainless steel wins in the build quality department and is naturally free from any harmful polycarbonates. However, it can be heavy, especially when the sippy cup is full. Glass sippy cups are risky as they can break.
- No choking parts: The cup should have a minimal number of individual parts. If there are any detachable parts, then they must be large and chunky, to avoid choking hazards. Also, all parts should snugly fit into one another to prevent your baby from opening the cup himself.
- Select spout type: You can choose a spout that your baby is most likely to find comfortable or simply pick a bunch of cups with varying types of spouts to determine the one that works. There is no restriction here.
- Easy to clean: A good sippy cup must be easy to clean, without the presence of any hard to reach spots. These spots can lead to bacterial accumulation that may harm the baby’s health.
21 Best Sippy Cups For Your Baby:
Let’s see the best sippy cups for babies and toddlers.
1. Chicco Soft Sippy Cup:
Buy Chicco Soft Sippy Cup 200 ML for $19.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Chicco-Drinky-Spout-Compatible-200Ml
- This is suitable for babies six months+ .
- The spout is made from flexible and soft silicone making it easier for the baby to latch to.
- The grips on the handles are non-slip, which facilitates a firmer grasp even by a baby as young as six months old.
- It is a spillproof sippy cup – a feature that prevents leakage and splashes.
- Weighs just 2.2 pounds (dry weight) therefore quite easy for the baby to hold.
- The plastic is completely free from BPA.
2. Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup:
Buy Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup for $6.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Munchkin-Click-Weighted-Flexi-Trainer
- This munchkin sippy cup is designed for babies and toddlers alike.
- It is a straw sippy cup, making it great for babies that prefer straw over the spout.
- Straw can be positioned at multiple angles letting the child drink easily.
- Handles are small and designed specifically for little hands.
- It has a no-spill and completely leak-proof design, even when it is stored in a bag.
3. NUK Learner Cup:
Buy NUL learner cup for $12.98 @ https://www.amazon.com/NUK-14097-Cars-Learner-5-Ounce
- It is ideal for babies who are six months and above and are transitioning from breast to bottle.
- Spout is made from clear silicone that is gentle on the baby’s gums even if the baby gnaws at it.The cup is leak-proof, and the plastic does not break when dropped.
- The mouth of the sippy cup is wide for easy cleaning, and the cup is dishwasher-safe.
- Sippy cup comes with a cap and handles that are removable so that you can train your growing baby to hold it like a real cup.
- Made from 100% BPA-free plastic.
4. Nuby Two-Handle No-Spill Super Spout Grip N’ Sip Cup:
Buy Nuby Two-Handle No-Spill Super Spout Grip N’ Sip Cup for $7.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Nuby-2-Pack-Two-Handle-No-Spill-Purple
- It is designed for babies aged six months and above.
- Spout is made from silicone and features a controlled flow of liquid with the help of a valve.
- Conveniently placed handles for an easy and natural grip by the baby.
- Wide mouth for easy maintenance and cleaning. Spout and valve can be removed and washed separately.
- Leak-proof design and the plastic is completely free from BPA.
5. Dr. Brown’s Soft-Spout Transition Cup:
Buy Dr. Brown’s Soft-Spout Transition Cup for $4.27 @ https://www.amazon.com/Dr-Browns-Soft-Spout-Transition-Single
- It is lightweight (at 2.4 ounces) and designed for infants as young as six months old.
- Plastic is BPA-free and features sturdy build quality.
- It has contoured handles for easy gripping.
- The soft spout features built-in valve. Spout can be removed to clean easily. The entire cup is dishwasher safe.
- Flip-style lid stays attached to the cup, keeping you from worrying about misplacing it.
6. Zoli BOT Straw Sippy Cup:
Buy Zoli BOT Straw Sippy Cup for $12 @ https://www.amazon.com/ZoLi-BOT-Straw-Sippy-Cup
- Straw sippy cup is made from BPA-free plastic and silicone.
- The silicone straw features a weighted ball at the lower end that moves with the liquid when the cup is tilted.
- The angled handles help the child in gripping the cup easily.
- Slidable lid shuts close, keeping the straw clean and the bottle leak-proof.
- The straw can be detached from the lid encasing for easy washing.
7. The First Years Disney/Pixar Insulated Sippy Cup:
Buy The First Years Disney/Pixar Insulated Sippy Cup for $8.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/First-Years-Disney-Finding-Insulated
- This is an adorable Disney sippy cup that is ideal for older babies and toddlers.
- It is an insulated sippy cup as it uses two layers of BPA-free plastic that can keep liquids cooler for longer.
- One-piece lid with no removable parts makes it easy to clean. The entire cup is dishwasher-safe.The plastic is also free from PVC and phthalates.
- External plastic is slip-proof, therefore, your little one can use it even with messy hands.
8. THERMOS FOOGO Stainless Steel Sippy Cup:
Buy THERMOS FOOGO Stainless Steel Sippy Cup for $16.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/THERMOS-Insulated-Stainless-7-Ounce-Handles
- This stainless steel sippy cup features steel both on the inside and outside of the cup.
- Steel is naturally free from BPA and can be used for storing warm liquids.
- Cup is vacuum insulated thus keeping the liquid warm or cold for six hours, making it less prone to bacterial contamination.
- The spout is soft and gentle on the child’s gums.
- Small contoured handles make gripping the cup easy for babies.
- This is dishwasher-safe and can be washed manually too.
9. Born Free Breeze Transition Trainer Cup:
Buy Born Free Breeze Transition Trainer Cup for $8.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Born-Free-Breeze-Transition-Trainer
- It is designed for babies aged six months and above with a light weight of 2.7 ounces.
- Spout and handles are an integrated component thus reducing the number of removable parts.
- The cup is leak-proof and does not spill liquid even when tilted.
- Spout valve helps in the controlled flow of liquid, and it can be detached for easy cleaning.
- The cup has soft handles that are easy for the baby to grip.
- Plastic is 100% free from BPA.
10. OXO Tot Sippy Cup Set:
Buy OXO Tot Sippy Cup Set for $7.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Sippy-Training-Removable-Handles
- This is a great product with complete sippy cup package with spout for babies and a separated perforated lid for toddlers.
- The cup grows with your baby. Remove the spout and attach perforated lid when your baby becomes a toddler. Detach this lid and it becomes a conventional open cup.
- The plastic is soft and BPA, PVC, and phthalate free.
- Sippy cup valve helps regulate the flow of the liquid and prevents leakage.
- Handles can be detached for easy cleaning.
- Features special contours on the cup to make gripping easy for a toddler.
11. Playtex Sipsters Sippy Cup Starter Set:
Buy Playtex Sipsters Sippy Cup Starter Set for $8.49 @ https://www.amazon.com/Playtex-Sipsters-Stage-Sippy-Starter
- This is a set of two sippy cups, one with a spout and another with a straw.
- Especially made for young infants, each sippy cup weighing only 1.6 ounces.
- The lid twists and clicks to fit tightly, which prevents liquid from spilling or leaking.
- Plastic is free from BPA and does not break even when dropped.
- It has removable handles for easy cleaning, which lets you use the cup as an open cup as your toddler grows older.
- Slidable lid covers the straw keeping it clean when the cup is not in use.
- Easy to clean design including that of the internal valve.
12. Gerber Graduates Fun Grips Hard Spout Sippy Cup:
Buy Gerber Graduates Fun Grips Hard Spout Sippy Cup for $23.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Gerber-Graduates-Assorted-Colors-10-Ounce
- This is a great sippy cup for your toddler with a bite resistant spout.
- Integrated spout and lid reduces the number of small parts while preventing any spills when the cup is inverted.
- The lid can be removed, and you can use it as a conventional open cup when your child grows older.
- Textured hourglass shape of the plastic helps in easy gripping even in the little hands of a toddler.
- Plastic is BPA-free and is 100% break-proof. The entire cup is safe to wash in a dishwasher.
13. PIGEON Mag Mag Spout Cup:
Buy PIGEON Mag Mag Spout Cup for $23.37 @ https://www.amazon.com/PIGEON-Mag-Spout-Cup
- Slider lid that completely prevents leaks and spills.
- Soft silicone straw is bent to ensure your baby can finish the last drop.
- The tip of the straw features a crosscut design, reducing the chances of spillage when the lid is open.
- Handles are wide and molded for easy gripping by little hands.
- The build material is completely free from BPA.
14. Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup:
Buy Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup for $16.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MZ3275P/
- This product has well-insulated stainless steel cup made for toddlers.The vacuum insulation helps keep the liquid cool for as long as 15 hours.
- 360-degree edge ensures the toddler can drink from anywhere on the rim.
- The grooves on the mouth-disc let out small quantities of water preventing a complete spillover.
- No separate valve parts makes washing very easy.
15. Sharebear Sippy Cup:
Buy Sharebear Sippy Cup for $19.98 @ https://www.amazon.com/Sharebear-Sippy-Cup-12-Pack
- One piece spout for easy use by older infants and toddlers.
- Cup is contoured appropriately for easy holding by infants’ and toddlers’ small hands.
- Cap covers the spout snugly to keep it clean during travels.
- It has a leak-proof and spill-proof design. The body of the cup is even break-proof.
- 100% BPA-free and safe for washing in a dishwasher.
16. Thinkbaby BPA Free No Spill Sippy Cup:
Buy Thinkbaby BPA Free No Spill Sippy Cup for $8.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Thinkbaby-Spill-Sippy-Orange-Natural
- It has a soft silicone spout that works great for babies and toddlers.
- The cross-cut design of the spout reduces the chances of a spill.
- Handles are specially molded with little grooves on it that facilitate a firm grip.
- Travel cap keeps the spout clean and prevents leaks.
- It is dishwasher safe plastic, which is 100% free of BPA.
17. Born Free Big Kid Spoutless Cup:
Buy Born Free Big Kid Spoutless Cup for $9.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Born-Free-BPA-Free-Spoutless-Count
- This is a spoutless sippy cup to train your toddler to drink from a regular cup. Drinking action resembles drinking from an open cup.
- The hump on the lid features a small hole that lets your toddler drink without spilling.
- It has a well-shaped external body that lets the child grip the cup easily.
- Cup converts into an open cup when the top lid is removed, thus extending its use.
- Plastic is free from PVC and BPA and is safe to be cleaned in a dishwasher.
18. Philips Avent My Natural Trainer Cup:
Buy Philips Avent My Natural Trainer Cup for $7.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Avent-Natural-Trainer-Ounce
- It is designed for easy use by infants that are six months and older and is lightweight (1.6 ounces)
- Controlled flow of liquid from the silicone spout makes drinking easy for an infant.
- Rubberized handles make gripping easier even when the child’s hands are messy.
- Comes with a lid that covers the spout and prevents spills.It is free from BPA and dishwasher-safe.
19. THERMOS FOOGO Straw Bottle:
Buy THERMOS FOOGO Straw Bottle for $11.26 @ https://www.amazon.com/THERMOS-FOOGO-11-Ounce-Bottle-Yellow
- This is a straw-based drinking that is great for older infants and babies that prefer straws over spouts.
- It is made with special polyester that is impact resistant, completely clear, and free from BPA.
- Build materials do not absorb the smell of the food items thus making washing easy even with a dishwasher.
- The body is specifically molded for an easier grip for little hands.
- Push-button lid secures the straw inside keeping the sippy cup clean.
20. Lollaland Lollacup Sippy Cup With Straw:
Buy Lollaland Lollacup Sippy Cup With Straw for $15.95 @ https://www.amazon.com/Lollaland-Lollacup-Infant-Toddler-Sippy
- This product has a straw with a weighted end that moves with the liquid for easy drinking.Comes with a straw cleaning brush that makes maintenance easier.
- All components can be conveniently washed in a dishwasher.
- The plastic is BPA and phthalates free.
- Handles are detachable for easier portability.
21. Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup:
Buy Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup for $8.99 @ https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Avent-Purple-SCF792-22
- A straw sippy cup that is guaranteed to be 100% leak proof.
- This is recommended by dentists and has been proven to be effective in healthy oral development of the child.
- The straw bends and tilts conveniently so that your little one can finish till the last drop.
- Valve is made from clear plastic that ensures visibility of any dirt build-up.
- Build materials are free of BPA and are dishwasher-safe.
Those were 21 best sippy cups for your baby. While sippy cups are made for babies, you must always observe caution during their usage.
Tips And Precautions While Using Sippy Cups:
A sippy cup can be a great tool to teach your baby open cup drinking. It is, therefore, important that you use it properly. Here are some tips and precautions that will ensure your baby reaps the maximum benefit from a sippy cup.
1. Never let your child sleep with a sippy cup:
Sleeping with a sippy cup, and frequent consumption of milk through it multiple times a day is linked with dental decay in babies and toddlers (5). Just like bottle-drinking, sippy cups make the liquid accumulate in the mouth. This long-term frequent exposure to milk and other sweetened beverages can cause oral bacteria to release too much acid thus damaging teeth and gums. Sleeping with a water sippy cup may seem okay but can lead to choking.
2. Do not let your toddler walk with a sippy cup:
Your toddler will love moving around with his sippy cup and that may compound the risk of injury. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that sippy cup is among the main culprits behind fatal fall injuries among toddlers older than 12 months (6). At that age, toddlers are taking their first steps and are prone to falling. Having a sippy cup in the hand or mouth may inflict an extra injury.
3. Avoid using a sippy cup as a pacifier:
Once your child gets used to the cup, he will find solace in it. But do not simply hand over the cup every time your little one cries or throws a tantrum. Sippy cup is not a pacifier and should be used only to facilitate the subsequent adoption of open cup drinking. By letting your child use the sippy cup as a pacifier, you may be delaying his ability to drink from a cup.
4. Inspect and clean the sippy cup regularly:
Always do a periodic check of the sippy cup for cracks, broken ends, or any signs of chipping of the plastic. A moldy sippy cup is dangerous for your baby’s health, and you must be extra vigilant about it. Check that the cap and other components of the cup fit properly. You must wash the sippy cup at regular intervals and more frequently when you use it to feed milk so that there is no accumulation of bacteria and molds.
5. Continue to breastfeed:
If you are using sippy cups to wean your baby, do not completely stop breastfeeding. Do it gradually, as your baby gets used to the cups. Continue to breastfeed him when he is still under training.
When Should A Child Stop Using A Sippy Cup?
Your child should not use a sippy cup beyond 24 months and by this age should have transitioned completely to drinking from an open cup. Some pediatric experts recommend phasing out of sippy cups by 12 months (7). While it may seem impossible, drinking from a cup is a developmental milestone that your baby will achieve between ten and 12 months of age (8).
You may wish to use a sippy cup a bit longer for milk since toddlers tend to spill milk while drinking from an open cup and make a mess. But continue with the demonstration about drinking milk from an open cup and your baby will soon learn to drink on his own. Begin with small quantities, and move to larger portions as your baby gets used to it. Make your baby drink water exclusively in open cups.
Do you have an experience or tips to share about sippy cups? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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