Just like there’s an endless list of bottle options for babies, there’s also an overwhelming amount of cup options for when your baby is ready to transition to a “big kid cup.” Maybe your child preferred certain bottles and refused others—the same thing could happen with sippy and straw cups. Take it from someone who has a graveyard of rejected sippy cups hidden in the depths of the kitchen cabinets: Toddler cups are not one-size fits all.
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It can be overwhelming to sift through all the options. If you don’t know where to begin, there are a few categories you can choose from. There are straw cups, weighted straw cups, open cups, 360 degree cups, spout cups, and more. The different styles offer unique benefits for toddlers as they transition away from being breastfed or bottle-fed.
When should you introduce a cup?
According to WebMD, it’s recommended to move away from bottles at about the one-year mark, though it’s still OK if you don’t make the transition at that exact time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends phasing out the bottle between 12 and 24 months of age.
While a bottle often offers comfort and is something your baby is used to, using bottles past the recommended age can lead to tooth decay and could change the positioning of your child’s teeth. Drinking a bottle while laying down can also lead to ear infections. So even if your little one is attached to their bottle, you’ll want to start working on the transition to remove it from their daily routine when they’re around one year old.
How to make the transition from a bottle to a cup
It can be challenging for little ones to switch to another type of cup, which is why it’s great that there are so many options. Test out a few and let your child experiment with them. It may take some time and will be frustrating and messy, but they’ll eventually learn how to use a straw and how to properly sip from an open cup. Since there are a variety of cup styles, it’s a good idea to let your child try a few different ones so they can master the various techniques.
As you’re shopping around, look for cups with weighted bottoms to reduce spills, ones that have weighted straws, ones that are spill proof (kids are known to wildly throw around their cups), ones with handles for easy holding, and ones that offer a soft material to protect your child’s teeth and gums.
While we recommend the following cups, it’s always best to discuss with your pediatrician for their recommendations as well.
If you’re ready to make the leap into toddler cups, here are some we recommend trying.
This aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly cup helps little ones transition away from bottles. The cup is designed to allow for extra stability and has dedicated airflow, meaning it makes drinking easier. The straw also has a stopper so kids can't pull it from the top.
These no-frills cups are a bargain buy at $2.99 for a set of 6. They're sturdy, come in fun colors, and are an easy pick for toddlers who have mastered drinking from an open cup or through a straw (we recommend pairing with the below lids and silicone straws of your choice).
These cups do double duty because they can be used for drinks or as food storage (genius!). They're stainless steel jars that come with a silicone sleeve, lids, straws, and a cleaning brush. Straws also have a stopper so toddlers can't pull it out.
If you're obsessed with YETI (and who isn't?), this junior version might be perfect for your toddler. It keeps drinks cold or hot and resists dents in case your child drops or throws it. The sipping may take some practice and probably wouldn't be the best first cup for your toddler, but it's a good option for when they're older.
7 colors available
This article was originally published on June 2021. It has been updated for timeliness.