Oh, sippy cups. As a pediatric SLP I’m obligated to say that open-cup drinking is best for your child’s oral-motor development. But as a mom…let’s be practical! We use sippy cups every single day in our house!
Luckily there are fabulous sippy cup options out there today, and many are far better for your baby or toddler’s oral-motor development than the sippy cups of years past!
So I’ll break down my experience with some of the sippy cups we’ve tried and how I would rate them as an SLP and mommy!
1. Munchkin Miracle 360: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
These are cool cups! I had to read the instructions to figure them out, but they really are simple to use. There are 3 parts- the cup that holds the liquid, the screw-on lid with lots of holes, and the silicon top which snaps onto the plastic lid. Your child can tip the cup, take a sip from anywhere around the rim of the lid, and liquid will flow out. The 7oz ones come with handles and the 10oz ones don’t, but we mix and match all the time! We started using these with Van when he was 6 or 7 months, but had to hold the cup for him.
Pros– top rack dishwasher safe; easy to take apart, clean, and reassemble; easy to use, just tip back and take a sip; similar to open cup drinking without the mess of an open cup
Cons– liquid will come out if your child throws it forcefully onto a hard floor; large handles can be hard for babies to lift and tip when just starting to drink; these cups can be annoying to clean if dropped in the sand or dirt.
While I wouldn’t recommend it for a trip to the petting zoo or the beach it is my favorite cup for day to day use!
We have one of these but never use it. I love the idea of it, Van just can’t use it without getting water all over him!
The child drinks from the rim of the cup and the pressure from his/her lip on the center valve actually releases the liquid. It reminds me of those travel coffee mugs that you twist the center to “open” then actually sip the liquid from the rim.
We got this for Van when he was about 9 months old and using his Munchkin Miracle cups independently. I reintroduce it every few months (or if all of his other sippy cups are dirty), but he just makes such a mess with it that I might as well be giving him a regular open cup.
Pros- promotes a more mature drinking pattern, similar to an open cup. This cup is probably as similar to open-cup drinking as you can get while still using a lid since it doesn’t require a suck to release the liquid.
Cons- This cup can be difficult for babies and younger toddlers due to fast flow of liquid. It is also difficult to assemble/reassemble. There are 4 parts to it and each part needs to be facing the right direction or liquid will spill when it’s turned upside down (found this out the hard way)!
3. Doidy cup: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
So this actually IS open-cup drinking. We used this with Van when he was 6 months old and just starting solids. Again, there’s NO LID. The cup is small and built angled so there’s less tipping required to get a sip. If you are brave enough to teach your child open cup drinking this is a great place to start!
Pros: tiny handles for tiny hands! The cup is small too and a great size for a baby just starting to take sips of drinks or working toward independently bringing their cups to their lips. The manufacturer recommends this cup for ages 3 months and up, so if you’re nervous about going against age recommendations, this cup is safe for young babies!
Cons: Spills! Lots of spills! I would never give this to Van to walk around with! He only gets it in his high chair with his shirt off, and when I’m not feeling too exhausted to clean up the mess! Also these are about $10 each, which isn’t super cheap in the world of sippy cups.
4. Nuby No Spill Cup with Flex Straw: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We use these cups often! I discovered these when Van was around 8 months, and we’ve used these in our rotation ever since. Straw sippy cups are good alternatives to spouted sippy cups, as they require a more mature sucking pattern. For how to teaching your baby or toddler to drink from a straw, follow this link to my previous post.
Now back to the Nuby- it has 4 parts which are pretty standard in the straw sippy cup world: the cup, the rubber insert with the exterior straw, the hard plastic rim, and interior straw which attaches to the insert.
Pros- when it falls on the ground the straw usually doesn’t acually touch the floor; wide straw makes it easy to use for newbies; flexible straw; no leaking so far
Cons- the straw doesn’t retract or bend so if there’s crud at the bottom of your diaper bag it can stick to it. While straw drinking is better than spouted, the Munchkin and Phillips cups mentioned earlier do provide a more mature drinking pattern than straw cups.
We have one of these that we got for Christmas, and like it too. It’s smaller than the Nuby, and the straw can flip down under a cover when not in use. I did notice this one is currently $9.99 on Amazon, but the larger size without handles is only $6.99.
Pros- slightly shorter straw than the Nuby; the straw cover makes it easy to toss in the diaper bag; flexible straw. The handles are also pretty thin, making it easier for small hands to grip them!
Cons- the cover for the lid does come off pretty easily if it’s thrown. We are probably going to lose the cover at some point! I also have noticed occasional small leaks from this one, and the price is higher than many of the other straw sippy cups available.
6. Random straw cups with retractable straws: ⭐️
Confession: I got 2 of these on clearance for under 1.50 each but unfortunately these were not a great buy.
Pros- Cheap; use a straw rather than a spout
Cons- These are the most difficult to suck liquid through. Van so frustrated with these I ended up not using the plastic inserts and just putting regular disposable straws in them. We now use them as our “smoothie cups” because I don’t want any of our straw sippy cups to get gross if smoothie sits in there for too long.
7. Spouted sippy cups: 🚫❌🚫
I get it…they are easy to clean, and easy for your baby to use, but easy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you and these cups are NOT good for oral-motor development! Seriously. The sucking pattern required to drink from a spouted sippy cup is very similar to that of a bottle, and as a pediatric SLP, I do not recommend use of bottles, pacifiers, or spouted sippy cups for kids over the age of one. Children suckle spouted sippy cups, the same way they would a bottle or pacifier. This prevents the tongue from moving into a more natural position for speech development. It has also been shown to lead to malocclusion (aka overbites and underbites) when children continue to use these spouted cups past age 2.
And y’all this post is NOT meant to attack any families still using bottles or pacis! Believe me- I know that transition isn’t easy and as your child’s parent you’re the one who gets to decide when it happens. I’m just saying that IF you are making the move to sippy cups or just building up your sippy cup collection, please don’t buy spouted ones!
To sum it up-
While open cup drinking is best for our developing babies and toddlers, there are many good sippy cup options on the market! My top pick is the Munchkin Miracle 360, but I encourage you to buy a few different ones and see what works for your little one! Just please try to avoid the spouted sippys!
Hope everyone had a very happy Valentines Day!!!
Do yourself sippy cups with your little ones? Which are your favorites?