Baby shouldn’t have anything except breast milk or formula until six months old, but that doesn’t mean she can’t start drinking out of a cup — er, cups. Didn’t you know? Sippy cups are like potato chips; you can’t have just one (oh, just you wait until one of your kitchen drawers starts overflowing with these things). While you may favor the design of a particular style, your little may prefer the functionality of another. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from, and these days, they’re all BPA free and most are dishwasher safe.
KEY FEATURES: Unlike a tippy cup, which releases a small amount of liquid when tipped or turned upside down, sippy cups require actual muscle movement in the mouth — similar to what’s required to drink out of a bottle (or straw, for older kids). Some sippies use a valve of some kind to accomplish this, while others are less complicated… and more prone to leaking.
PROS: If you try hard enough, you can get any leak-proof sippy cup to drip at least a little. With this one, though, you have to try really, really hard. If you wanted to leave water by your toddler’s bedside, this would definitely be the cup to use. It’s recommended for babies six months and older, but it’s not too babyish for a bigger kid. Plus it’s dishwasher safe, and a two-pack won’t even set you back 10 bucks.
CONS: The cup and spout are made of hard plastic, and, sure, these aren’t the most attractive sippy cups in the world. There are no handles for tiny hands, but the texture of the cup makes it easy enough to hold. Some reviewers claim that the valve inside the lid (the one that makes it leak-proof) will grow mold if left sitting too long, but if you throw it in the dishwasher every time you do a load (or even wash and air dry it once every few days) you’ll be totally fine.
VERDICT: If we had to choose just one sippy cup (haha — yeah, right!) this would have to be it.
Some Picks By Age
PROS: This is basically Avent’s five-ounce bottle with two soft, grippy handles — which is great for infants who want to feed themselves. It comes with a traditional nipple, as well as a soft silicone sippy-style top, so if you want to gradually “trick” (er, transition) your baby into using the sippy-style top, this cute little vessel is the way to do it.
CONS: If your baby takes a sippy cup easily, this might be kind of pointless overkill.
VERDICT: Great for a baby who may be resisting a sippy cup, otherwise you can probably skip it.
PROS: This simple eight-ounce sippy cup has a soft silicone spout, two easy-to-grip handles, and a generally inoffensive design. It’s not listed as dishwasher safe, but — oops! — it seems to do just fine on the top rack.
CONS: This is a pretty basic, plastic sippy cup. Like most sippies, if you try really hard, you can get it to leak. But for the price, there’s not much to hate on.
VERDICT: Great affordable option, and a better alternative to Take & Toss cups. If you leave one somewhere, it’s not the end of the world. And if you find one under the couch after a month or so, just go ahead and toss it.
PROS: This adorable little sippy sort of feels like a bottle, and has a soft spout and two grippy handles that are easy for baby to hold. It’s dishwasher safe and the price isn’t bad either!
CONS: It only holds five ounces and it will leak if left upside down.
VERDICT: This adorable cup is a great transition from a bottle to a cup, and your baby will probably love it.
PROS: Baby (or toddler) can drink from anywhere on the rim of this futuristic-looking cup, thanks to a silicone lid that’s really more of a flap. The spoutless design is supposed to be better for young teeth, and all the parts are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher.
CONS: You’ll spend half of every public outing explaining to other adults what it is and how it works. And if you throw it in your purse or bag, and the lid/flap catches on anything, it will leak.
VERDICT: If you want to skip the sippy spout all together, just do it. Let your sippy cup freak flag fly! It’s the rest of the world who has the problem, not your cup.
PROS: These thin plastic sippy cups are nothing special, and that’s by design. A four pack costs just three dollars, so if you leave one at a park or restaurant, it’s no biggie. Each set of these dishwasher-safe cups comes with one travel cap, and all the parts are interchangeable with other Take & Toss cups (and unlike the version with a straw, these won’t squirt liquid all over you every time you put on the lid).
CONS: The valve-free design means these cups will leak if left upside down and lid comes off a little too easily in the hands of a determined toddler. But, really, what else do you expect from something that’s meant to be thrown away after a few uses?
VERDICT: It’s good to have a few of these sort of disposable cups on hand, whether it’s for an outing, playdate, or unexpected visitor you know will take off with something.
PROS: This 12-ounce Thermos comes in more than 50 designs — mostly obnoxious branded characters, but also a few solid colors and a handful of less offensive decals. The push-button lid keeps the straw somewhat sanitary, and the serious insulation could be good for a kid using it at an outdoor day camp.
CONS: This thing comes with nine-point assembly instructions (really, it’s doesn’t need to be that complicated). Most likely, your toddler is going to have water in this thermos, and water isn’t really something you need to keep ice-cold for a full 12 hours. Plus, if you lose it or leave it somewhere (it happens), you’re out $18. The worst part: Because it’s double-walled, it can’t (or at least shouldn’t) go in the dishwasher. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
VERDICT: A pricey thermos with features you may not need.
PROS: Unlike many double-walled cups, this one is dishwasher safe (top rack). It’s also ergonomic, though it’s slightly awkward without a handle for bigger kids, as it’s just wide enough that it requires two small hands to hold on tight. There are a couple of design options, and for the most part, it’s leak-proof — as long as you have the lid on really tightly.
CONS: The “removable two-piece valve” seems a like a bit much for a sippy cup, and if you want to put your kid’s name on it in Sharpie, you have to do it on the lid somewhere (it won’t stay anywhere else).
VERDICT: It’s good! Don’t lose your mind over it, but super solid.