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Advice for Choosing the Right Sippy Cup for Your Kids

What time is the right time?

You know your child is ready to use a sippy cup if he/she can sit without support, can hold objects in his hand, and is curious and willing to drink from a cup.

Sippy cups provide the ultimate mealtime convenience and allow your little one to switch from sucking to sipping with ease. These spill-proof cups are portable and easy to use. Most parents like to make this transition early on, when the child is around six to nine months old and has a firm grip, and has the ability to move things from the hand to the mouth.

If you too are planning to switch from a bottle to a sippy cup, and are flummoxed by the number of choices in the markets, then go through these points that will tell you how to choose the right sippy cup.

Choose the correct type of spout


There are different types of spouts for sippy cups, from soft and rubbery spouts to dense, hard spouts. Yet, soft spout cups are popular, because parents believe that it is easy for the baby to make the transition if he/she has something soft and familiar to chew and suck on. However, experts believe that a hard spout is better as it does not encourage sucking. If your kid has a hard time adjusting to a hard spout sippy cup, then start off with a soft, pliable, nipple-like spout before moving to a hard spout cup. Apart from the soft and hard spout sippy cups, there are soft and hard straw cups that are best for toddlers and children older than 18 months.

Look for leak-proof cups


This is one of the major criteria while buying sippy cups. Leak-proof cups have valves on the top of their lids to prevent spillage. These cups are ideal while traveling. Although this may make the mothers happy, a child may have trouble sucking from such cups. Moreover, health professionals advise using free-flowing cups without valves as the baby does not need to suck to get the drink, which in turn, ensures the healthy development of his/her teeth and jaw. However, leaks from sippy cups can be extremely messy and frustrating. You can try getting a sippy cup with a removable valve or a cup with a tight fitting lid if you are worried about the resulting mess, and yet, want the baby to drink with ease.

Should be easy to clean


Existence of too many components or parts in a cup can be difficult to clean. Opt for a cup that has a maximum of three parts, the cup, insert, and lid. A cup with detachable or removable parts is obviously, far easier to clean and maintain. A dishwasher-safe sippy cup like the Foogo Plastic Leak-Proof Straw Bottle, is easier to maintain and clean. Of course, you can always buy disposable sippy cups, such as The First Years Take & Toss Spill-Proof Cups, with removable handles, which are great for frequent travelers.

Should have handles


Look for sippy cups with one or two removable handles that provide better grip. These sippy cups work well for younger kids who want to eat and drink on their own. Once your kid is older, you can simply remove the handles to make the sippy cup look more like a sports bottle. Experiment with different styles and allow the child to hold the bottle while buying to check if he/she is comfortable using it.

Should be lightweight and easy to carry


Choose a sippy cup that your child can carry easily. Although glass and stainless steel sippy cups have loads of advantages, such as the risk of potential leaching chemicals, they can be heavy and not very kid-friendly. Sippy cups that are difficult to hold and carry around can be frustrating for the child.

Ensure the cups are BPA-free


BPA (bisphenol A) is a harmful chemical found in plastics, which is known to cause developmental disorders in infants. If you are buying a plastic sippy cup, then ensure that it is free of BPA. Other BPA-free sippy cup options include stainless steel cups, such as KID Basix Safe Sippy, and glass bottles such as Lifefactory Glass Bottle with Sippy Cap.

Should have a weighted bottom


A weighted bottom ensures that the cup does not topple over. This feature is a must-have for all the sippy cups without the leak-proof valves if you wish to contain a dribbly mess. Ensure that the bottle is sturdy and has a non-slip scratch-resistant base. This is extremely important as kids tend to throw things around, and anything that is too light and flimsy will break easily.

Some good sippy cup options are:

❐ Gerber Graduates Nuk Ultimate Cup
❐ boon SWIG Sippy Cup
❐ NUK Learner Cup
❐ The First Years Spill-proof Gripper Sipper Cup

Some sippy cups have additional features like insulation which keeps the drinks cool or warm. Look for cups with colorful designs and bright colors. If possible, allow the kid to try out a few cups before choosing one that he/she likes the best.

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I am a father of three and my wife is a registered nurse specialized in children.

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