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There comes a time when children need to move away from the bottle to promote healthy growth and oral development. And to accomplish this, you need to know the best sippy cups to replace bottles.
How do you make the transition, and what do you need to look for in a sippy cup? We are here to help make this easy and hassle-free.
Transitioning from Bottle to Sippy Cup
When is the Best Time to Transition?
It’s difficult to make changes with your little one. They are so used to a certain routine or way of doing things that they don’t want to give up what they have known for so long.
However, certain changes are essential to ensure that your child grows and develops properly. That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning from the bottle before 18 months of age.
How to Make the Transition from Bottle to Cup Easy
As we said, young children – particularly babies – are often resistant to change. So, taking away their bottle suddenly may send them spiraling into a breakdown, refusing to try a new cup.
You can make the transition from bottle to cupa bit easier by starting early. Children shouldn’t drink anything but breast milk or formula until they are at least 6 months old, but you can introduce the cup between 3 and 6 months of age.
Let them hold the cup to get acquainted, even if there is no liquid inside. Then, around 8 to 10 months of age, you can start to substitute one of their bottle feedings for a cup.
Try some different cups to find what your child likes best. It may take some trial and error due to different spout and cup types.
Don’t give up if they are resistant at first. Consistency is key to seeing results.
Around 6 months, you can start giving your little one water in their sippy cup. Be sure to wait until at least their first birthday before you introduce cow’s milk.
Open Cup & Covered Sippy Cups
Most sippy cups that you will be looking at are covered sippy cups. They can come with a variety of different spout types from the traditional sippy spout, the flexible straw, or even spoutless.
The point of these covered sippy cups is to reduce spills while teaching your child to drink from a cup instead of a bottle.
These lids typically guard against leaks with extra rings, seals, or filters.
They are the best type of cup for traveling since they won’t spill on your child, on you, or all over the inside of your diaper bag.
However, there is also a second type of sippy cup: the open cup.
Now, you may be thinking that having an open cup defeats the purpose of calling it a “sippy” cup.
The truth is, open cups are actually the true sippy cup.
Most covered cups have extra valvles that require a lot of suction in order to get the liquid flowing; they should actually be called “sucky” cups.
An open cup requires natural sipping rather than sucking, making it better for oral development.
You may also start picturing all the messes that will happen as your child goes straight from the bottle to an open cup.
While there will indeed be a few messes here and there to clean up, an open cup can teach your child proper drinking habits without them becoming reliant on a sippy spout (which is somewhat still like a bottle).
Finding the right open cup is key. You want something small enough for their little hands that holds just enough liquid for them to drink with meals.
You also want to find something with a softer rim (and possible soft grip) to protect their gums and teeth as they learn to drink properly.
How to Choose the Right Sippy Cup
Ease of Cleaning
Some sippy cups come with a lot of little pieces, including valves and ring in addition to the top and cup. It can make it very difficult and somewhat of a hassle to clean all of these little pieces.
And if you don’t remove these pieces when cleaning the cup, it could cause mold growth in the cup that will make your child sick.
Finding a cup that has very few parts makes it easier to clean and keep your child healthy. Also, finding one that is dishwasher safe is a bonus.
Anything that goes into your child’s mouth should be thoroughly researched. You don’t want any toxic materials coming in contact with their mouths and entering into their body.
Their sippy cup should be made with quality materials that are ideally BPA-free and can withstand sharp teeth and rough play.
Sippy cups don’t just come with one spout style, and the one you choose can make a big difference depending on the stage your child is at when you want to transition from the bottle.
The most popular options are the typical sippy cup spouts, both hard and soft. These require a little bit of suction and work similarly to a bottle since the cup has to be tipped.
Straws are also a popular option. There are fewer spills since the cup can usually be closed and it is kept upright.
Spoutless cups are best for older children who plan to skip the “sippy cup” phase, moving directly from the bottle to a cup. They still have a top and valve to prevent leaks, but the child can drink from anywhere on the edge like a regular cup.
Easy to Hold
Little hands need to be able to hold their cup easily to minimize spills and help them practice with their new cup.
Your child’s sippy cup should either have handles on both sides or have a slightly contoured shape to make it easier for their little hands to grip.
Top-Rated Sippy Cups to Replace Bottles
Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer
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The best thing about the Munchkin Miracle cup is its simplicity. There are no extra valves or small pieces to clean.
It is also top rack dishwasher safe to make cleaning even easier.
The cup is spoutless, with a 360-degree drinking edge that automatically seals when your child stops drinking; no more worrying about spills.
And with handles on both sides, it’s easy for little hands to hold without dropping.
The Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer cup is also one of the best cups to help your child develop. With no spout, they learn better tongue control and it promotes their oral development.
It is a better transition between bottle and regular cup since it teaches your child to tilt and drink without the spout.
- 360-degree drinking edge
- checkEasy to clean
- Handles on both sides
- Very sturdy
- Promotes good development
- Hard for young children to figure out
- Occasionally leaks
- Can’t use with pulpy juices
[amazon box=”B00MRZIFD0″ /]
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NUK Learner cup is one of the best for babies transitioning from the bottle. The soft, spill-proof spout feels like a bottle nipple but drinks more like a cup.
The spout is designed to be gentle on gums and allows easy flow of liquid with gentle suction.
There are anti-slip handles attached to the bottom that make it easy for your child to grip the cup without dropping it.
With no small parts – just the removable handles, cup, nipple, and ring top – safe makes it very easy to keep clean.
It is not recommended to place the cup pieces in the dishwasher, however, though other users say they have done so with no issues.
- Easy to grip handles
- checkNo small parts to clean
- Best to transition from bottle
- Soft spout feels like bottle nipple
- Liquid flows with gentle suction
- Not recommended for dishwasher cleaning
- Nipple doesn’t hold up against sharp teeth
- Pressure builds up frequently in the cup
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Gerber Graduates Fun Grips
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If you want a sturdy cup that is 100% spill-proof, leak-proof, and unbreakable, the Gerber Graduate Fun Cups are what you want.
These cups come in multiple color options and have a hard spout that stands the test of time, even when constantly chewed on by sharp little teeth.
The hourglass shape makes it easy for little hands to grip and hard for them to knock over.
They are relatively easy to clean, but there is a small valve on the underside of the lid that needs to be removed to prevent mold growth.
However, these are dishwasher safe, which makes it a little more convenient to clean.
- Virtually unbreakable and leak-proof
- checkHard spout is bite resistant
- Dishwasher safe
- Contoured shape for little hands
- Comes in multiple colors
- Small valve needs to be removed for cleaning
- Need to make sure lid is on correctly to prevent spills
- No cover for the spout
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OXO Tot Transitions
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An excellent, leak-proof straw cup for toddlers is the OXO Tot Transitions cup with removable handles.
The straw is uniquely almond-shaped, which helps it contour to your child’s mouth easier and prevents leaks.
It can be a little difficult for children to get the hang of this cup. With the straw acting similarly to a CamelBak, they need to slightly bite on the straw before sucking to allow liquid to flow.
The easy to grip handles are removable so your child can hold onto the contoured cup as they get older.
There is also a hinged cap that closes over the straw to keep it clean and prevent leaks.
Being a straw cup, there are several small parts to clean, but it is dishwasher safe which somewhat balances out the hassle of cleaning.
- Removable handles
- checkHinged cap to cover straw
- Almond-shaped straw to contour to mouth better
- Dishwasher safe
- Convenient measurements on cup
- Hard to use for beginners
- Many small parts to clean
- Replacement straw is expensive
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Green Sprouts Glass Sip & Straw
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You always want to be sure that your child doesn’t ingest anything that may come from toxic materials, and the Green Sprouts Glass Sip & Straw will ease all of your fears.
Liquids that your child drinks only touch silicone and borosilicate glass, so there is no need to worry about PVC or BPA plastics or other potentially toxic materials.
There are two drinking options: the traditional straw that require suction and a sip top that needs to be tilted.
Though the cup is made from glass, there is little need to worry about it breaking from a drop.
The inner glass cup is surrounded by an outer shield that also helps to insulate. There is also a non-slip, shock absorbing base that helps to resist breaks.
There are several small parts that come with this cup, which makes it a bit difficult to clean, even with it being dishwasher safe.
- Glass bottle with silicone spout
- checkTwo drinking options
- Shock absorbing base
- Easy to transition from breastfeeding
- Several pieces to clean
- Expensive for a single cup
- Glass still has potential to break
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Even the best sippy cups can hinder your baby’s oral development, so why not go straight to an open cup instead?
The Babycup is not only great because there is no sippy spout but it is also the perfect size for little hands and little tummies (and bladders).
You can use these cups for just about anything; no need to worry about a thick smoothie clogging up the sippy top.
Made with soft BPA-free plastic, the Babycup is also soft against little teeth and gums to prevent bumps and cuts.
- Dishwasher safe
- checkPromotes proper drinking habits
- Small size for small hands
- Holds Just enough liquid for tiny tummies
- Does not guard against spills
- Doesn’t hold enough liquid for older toddlers
- Some babies may struggle with the open cup concept
You can purchase it here
When looking for a sippy cup to replace your child’s bottle, we have to agree with most professionals and recommend the open cup: The Babycup.
This cup encourages natural sipping rather than hard suction, which promotes proper oral development.
Its small size is also perfect for small hands, small tummies, and small bladders.
Being an open cup, it is very easy to clean with no small parts to separate and possibly lose.
Overall, even with the other great choices on our list, this one is best for a first cup after the bottle.