Of all of the baby stuff I have purchased over the past few years, I would say the item I have had the hardest time with is the sippy cup. With bottles, we chose once (Medela), Thomas immediately took to them, and I no longer thought about other bottles. Sadly, this was not the case with sippy cups. For an item designed to make life easier, we sure had our fair share of difficulties, especially in the beginning.
•••NUK TRAINER CUP•••
When we first offered Thomas a sippy cup, he could not understand what it was for and quickly became frustrated with the device. That was with the NUK Trainer Cup, which seemed like a good idea, but the bottle-like shape and soft, silicone spout did not fool my skeptical son. He knew it wasn’t how he normally received his liquids and he simply wasn’t interested in what that cup had to offer.
•••THE FIRST YEARS TAKE & TOSS SPILL PROOF SIPPY CUPS•••
Next up I offered him the cheap-o disposable Take-n-Toss Cups, which (amazingly) he took to right away. I’m not sure what it was about these cups but they managed to get Thomas to drink from a spout. Of course, once he had fully transitioned out of bottles, these were so not ideal for daily use. They are great to have when you are traveling and don’t want to bring your good cups or to keep stashed with the grandparents, but that’s about it. The reality is, these rigid plastic cups leak like the dickens and the snap-on lid is prone to popping off when thrown by a rambunctious toddler.
•••GERBER GRADUATES FUN GRIPS SOFT SPOUT TRAINER CUP + HARD SPOUT SIPPY CUP•••
The next sippy cup I offered Thomas was the Gerber Graduates Fun Grips Cup, because it looked simple and functional. Turns out, it was simple and functional which pleased me greatly. We still use these sippy cups in our rotation, as they are just a good basic cup. Very inexpensive and they come in two options: a smaller, trainer-style cup with handles and a softer spout and a larger cup with a hard plastic spout. We have both, but I usually pick the smaller one because at 20 months, Thomas doesn’t drink a massive amount of fluid at once. Another big pro to this series is how simple it is to clean. With only three parts (cup, lid, and removable valve) it is very easy to assemble, disassemble, and clean. And as long as you have that little valve inserted correctly, this cup hardly ever leaks, unless it is thrown and then a few drops might come out.
•••MUNCHKIN MIRACLE 360 TRAINER CUP•••
Somewhere along the way I purchased a spout-less cup because it was touted as being more like a real cup. The concept is that if you press your lips on the rubber rim, the pressure releases some of the fluid for you to drink. This didn’t really go over well with Thomas, so I abandoned the cup and moved on. However, this might be a style we transition to later on.
•••MUNCHKIN CLICK LOCK WEIGHTED FLEXI-STRAW CUP•••
Straw cups are considered a better option for sippy cups than spouts for proper oral development. I cannot speak to that personally, but that is what I have heard. Additionally, straws seem to be a natural progression into adulthood. I mean, one doesn’t ever see an adult chugging from a sippy cup, but straws we use all the time.
When I was still in my early stages of finding a sippy that Thomas would actually drink from, a friend recommended the Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi-Straw Cup. I picked one up, but when I offered it to Thomas, he placed his lips on the rubbery straw and immediately jerked his head back. He obviously wanted nothing to do with that straw. I tried a few more times and then retired it to the back of the cabinet, assuming that Thomas was just not a fan of straws. Months later, I reintroduced the straw cup when I noticed he liked to drink from our straws at restaurants. Low and behold the kid actually loved this cup now and it seemed easier and more natural for him to drink from than the spouted sippies.
This particular straw cup is very, very well-thought-out and well-executed. The weight on the bottom of the straw allows toddlers to hold the cup at any angle, which is perfect for transitioning from bottles or even from spouted sippy cups where you are tilting the vessel up at the bottom to drink. The handles make it easy to hold and the 7oz capacity is just the right size. Additionally, this cup is genuinely leak-proof. I can only think of a few instances where a droplet might have escaped the straw.
Unfortunately, these cups do have their drawbacks. The have quite a few parts and require a little more effort to clean. The cup is comprised of a clear plastic cup, a screw-on lid with handles, a removable flip-up cover to “open and close” the straw, a rubbery straw, and a disk shaped weight for the end of the straw. Each cup also comes with a cheap but effective brush to clean the straw with. Once you know how to do it, it is pretty quick to disassemble and clean this item. I like that you can remove the straw completely from the lid and the weight to more easily run the brush down in it to clean.
Another issue that I struggle with on this cup is the click-lock feature with gives an audible click once you have twisted the lid on tight enough. This helps to prevent leaking from the seams but unfortunately makes it much more difficult to screw the top on and off.
All-in-all, this is probably my favorite of the bunch, and the one we use most often.
•••ZOLI BOT STRAW SIPPY CUP •••
One sippy cup that I have constantly heard about is the ZoLi Bot Straw Sippy Cup. From what I can gather, this was one of the first available weighted-straw sippy cups, which explains its cult status. Similar to the Munchkin, the ZoLi Bot has a flip-top straw cover, twist on lid with handles, and a weighted rubbery straw (silicone it appears). The vessel is 6oz with a simple ZoLi logo emblazoned on one side. The disassembling and cleaning is similar to that of the Munchkin Flexi-Straw Cup, except that ZoLi does not include a straw cleaning brush (but you can purchase one separately) and you are not supposed to remove the straw from the lid to clean it. After cleaning the Munchkin cups for months, I was used to how they clean and I honestly don’t like not being able to remove the straw from the ZoLi cup for cleaning. It makes it more complicated to get the straw brush in and out.
However, ZoLi does score higher in my book for one important category: ease of assembling. With the ZoLi Bot I do not have to use nearly as much force to twist the lid on and off.
Another point to bring up about the ZoLi Bot is that some parents have found that pressure can build in the straw when a cold drink is in the cup, resulting in liquid coming out of the top of the straw. While I have not experienced this phenomenon, it is something to consider. I have heard that ZoLi is introducing a new version (ZoLi Bot 2.0) that avoids this issue, and I hope to give that cup a go when it is available.
•••THERMOS FOOGO SOFT SPOUT SIPPY CUP + STRAW BOTTLE•••
Another brand I purchased sippy cups from was Thermos. The company has an amazing reputation for drinking vessels (obviously!) and stainless steel is purported to be healthier to drink from than plastic. Unfortunately, these sippies didn’t dazzle me and the high price point made them even less desirable.
The Foogo Straw Cup is a pretty decent cup. It’s heavy, as stainless steel is, with no handles and a flexible straw. It has a flip-top cap that my son doesn’t know how to utilize yet as we don’t use it often. While this cap would probably be a non-issue with older children, my 20-month-old son still has the tendency to tilt his cup and head back when he drinks and in the case of this cup, the lid flops back down on his nose. Nothing painful, but it is annoying. Another issue I have with this cup is leaking. No matter how tightly I assemble the cup, liquids tend to leak out of the seam where the cap screws on. As long as this is stored upright and handled carefully, it is a nice, sturdy cup. It is great for outings as it keeps liquids cold for an extended period of time, so we do keep this around.
The Foogo Spouted Cup was rather petite with handles and a soft spot just like most trainer-style sippy cups. While there wasn’t anything wrong with this item, it did leak more than the others, and it seemed harder for Thomas to get the drink out.
•••BOON SNUG SILICONE SIPPY LIDS•••
Boon is one of my favorite lines for inventive baby products. They come up with really neat products that solve some pesky little problems with children’s wares. The Boon Snug Silicone Sippy Lid is another great product that solves the problem of always having to lug around a sippy cup for your toddler everywhere you go. These stretchy silicone lids fit onto most any cup and stay sealed. Bonus points for hygiene as these are one seamless piece of silicone that can be washed easily in the dishwasher or by hand. The downside is they do drip when thrown, dropped, or otherwise abused by a rough toddler. Plus, my little boy loves sticking his finger in the (pressure releasing?) hole. Otherwise, he does genuinely enjoy drinking from these Snug lids. While I don’t use these regularly at home, I do keep one or two in Thomas’ diaper bag so if we go out to dinner and I’ve forgotten to bring a sippy cup, we have this for backup. They also sell a straw version which I have yet to try but looks just as awesome.
Aside from the Nuk Trainer Cup and the Munchkin Miracle 360, there wasn’t a cup that I found to be a total waste of money, but out of all of these, I have three top recommendations. For babies first transitioning to sippy cups, I’d recommend The First Years’ Take-n-Toss. At such an affordable price, it is worth a shot and I guarantee you will use them at some point later on. While not leak-proof, this was the only sippy cup that my little one would use at first. For spouted cups, my favorite is the Gerber Graduates Soft Spout Trainer Cup. The handles make it easy for little ones to hold, it is easy to disassemble and clean, and I have never had a single leak. As for the straw variety, I must recommend the Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi-Straw Cup for it’s affordable price tag and ease of cleaning over the Zoli.