*Please note that some of the following recommendations include affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I will earn a commission (which will help with costs of running the site) if you click through and make a purchase*
There are GAZILLIONS of drinkware choices for kids out there, and I love giving cups as baby shower gifts, but the reality is, some kids are very particular about what tops they will take to (hard spout, soft spout, flexible straw, etc.). With my kids, we went through more than half a dozen cups. The ones I am sharing with you today are those that we have successfully used in our house.
I do want to add that pediatricians and dentists actually recommend moving to an open cup by age 1, due to various reasons including speech development and oral structure development. But in our house, an open cup was not a practical drinkware option for us all the time. Part of our morning routine was drinking milk and watching a television show–no way was I giving my 1 year old an open cup as we snuggled on the couch. They did take to straw cups very easily, but there was something about the comfort of the soft spout sippy that they loved. So, as with most parenting decisions, we did what was best for us, within reason.
As early as 6 months old (for typically developing babies), you can introduce a cup. Some things to ensure your baby can do first–make sure baby can hold up their head, and hold the cup with two hands. As babies transition from the bottle or breast, I have found they like the feel of a softer spout, as opposed to hard plastic. Also expect a learning curve and give them lots of chances to practice. Introduce the cup at mealtimes (when you have a cup or straw to drink from too). Don’t pressure them to drink from it, especially if they are little and primarily take the breast or bottle, as you won’t necessarily serve them their primary source of liquid nutrition (formula, milk of any kind) in this cup if they are less than one year old. Around their first birthday is when I was able to fully transition my kids to the Nuk Soft Spout Active cup, because they both liked the soft spout (which “felt” like a bottle nipple), which made leaving the traditional bottle behind much easier.
As a note too, I am a mom and I get it–if your kid is resistant to giving up their bottle, pick your battles. Your child probably won’t go to kindergarten drinking from a baby bottle, so don’t sweat it if they aren’t quite ready for the transition. Just keep introducing it and exposing them and praising them for using it when they do. Like all things, it will come.
This was the first cup I introduced at around 5 months. These have a firm, but soft covered, spout. The handles are very helpful for little clumsy hands. Bonus: we never had a leak issue. Can I get an AMEN for NO LEAKS!? You do have to take apart the top to wash thoroughly, but it’s simple to do.
In our house, this was called the “babi” (pronounced baa-bee). Oh man. My son ADORED the turtle version of this cup and loved the soft flexible spout. He also liked to bite off the tip of the spout, so over time I had to purchase replacement spouts. This cup has a lot of memories for us though! It also helped us move on from drinking milk from a traditional bottle, before the age of one.
My daughter wasn’t quite as hooked on her Nuk cup, but she liked this smaller one, and holding it by the handles. We never had leaks unless the spout had been partially bitten.
These cups are great for going out, when you’re not quite ready for an open cup of milk at the dinner table, or when you have friends come over with little ones and they need a straw cup. I find that if they get dropped, they don’t leak too much from the straw hole area (major plus!)
Behold the spout that my son has yet to destroy–the Munchkin Bite Proof Click Tight cup! We used these shortly after I realized I was paying a small fortune in replacement spouts for the Nuk sippy. These don’t leak, and they are super durable. You could probably run it over with your car and it wouldn’t break. Seriously.
A good old-fashioned glass open cup is also fun to drink from. My mom has little old fashioned jelly jars that the kids drink from when at the table, and they love them. I also bought some small glass juice glasses that we use with family meal time now.
Another durable, well-loved cup in our house. We have this one pictured, as well as a few others in different colors/themes. The kids love to push the button to open it too. This is our go-to water thermos. I have experienced some minor leaking from the straw if it’s resting on it’s side or upside down, but not always. Some of the themed ones are more expensive, but this charcoal and teal one is a good deal for $10ish bucks and it will last you years. We only put water in these cups so that the kids always have a water bottle handy and no one has to guess what might have been in it before (like milk or juice), but if you fill it with milk or juice, be sure to throughly clean the straw parts often to prevent mold.
Happy drinking my friends!