The Best Transition Sippy Cup Review
Looking for the perfect transition sippy cup for your baby? Once your infant starts solids, it is important for them to begin drinking some water as well. This will most likely prompt the search for the perfect cup to serve as a transition from bottles, and/or breast-feeding, into the world of leak-free cups. We looked at 32 competing cups, designed for babies age 4 to 9 month old, and narrowed it down to 14 cream of the crop cups (say that three times fast!) for testing and review. The transition cups were tested for ease of use, ease of cleaning, leakage, and eco-health. Most cups had similar designs, but a few earned favor for being unique or for eco-healthy materials. In the end, our scoring metrics, and cadre of tiny testers, determined which cups stood out from the competition.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Tommee Tippee First Sips
Tommee Tippee First Sips is a good transition choice for parents that used the Tommee Tippee line of bottles, or for the baby who prefers a squatter, more rounded cup. The Tommee Tippie actually scored second place in our tests overall, but failed to earn an award simply because it wasn't as cheap as some of the other cups we tested. This cup was easy to use, easy to clean, and scored above average for eco-health and ease of cleaning.
While this cup might not have been as cheap as the Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile, it did prove it was a real contender by scoring higher than the Sip & Smile, and it still had a better than average price, compared to the other transition cups we tested. This cup is easy to find online and in stores.
thinkbaby The Sippy Cup Stage C is a nice plastic cup for parents looking for a lighter weight cup, but also want more information on what the cup is made of. Unlike the other plastic cups we tested, the thinkbaby plastic transition cup offers a lot of information on the company website about what is not found in their plastics. So while they don't say exactly what is in their plastic, parents looking for a plastic cup might just feel warmer and fuzzier knowing that this company is considering the notion that other plastics besides BPA can be harmful, and they are trying to do something about it. The thinkbaby was a leak-proof cup, that was easy to clean and fairly easy to use. Plus, it had a fairly high eco-health score for a plastic cup.
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Analysis and Test Results
The name "Transition Cup" refers to the age period from 4 to 9 months, when a baby will be ready to transition from strictly bottle and/or breast feeding, to using a cup. Spills are an issue, so most parents prefer to use some kind of spill-resistant cup. As we will detail in this review, and cover more fully in our corresponding article, How to Find the Best Transition Sippy, the world of Leak-Free Cups is divided into stages for three different age groups. In this review, we focus on the Transition cups, the youngest age tier.
Types of Sippy Cups
The original leak-free cup was created by an engineer named Richard Belanger. He was tired of cleaning up after his baby who was just learning to use an ordinary cup properly, and was suffering from the same pitfalls all babies have suffered from throughout time, they all spill their cups. What might surprise you, is he invented the cup in 1988, which really wasn't that long ago (or are we dating ourselves?).
Belanger created a simple cup with a valve that prevented the back flow of liquid, and thereby helped the cup avoid spilling its contents when not used properly. At first, the family just ran and created the cups themselves, but in time, Belanger was able to sell his idea to Playtex, and the no-leak cup was officially born sometime in the early 90s.
While the leak-free cup of yore may not be exactly like the cups, or transition cups we use today, it certainly paved the way for the plethora of products you now find lining the baby aisle shelves. We wonder if Belanger ever thought his simple leak-proof cup was going to make it this big.
All the Sippys a Stage
No leak cups are categorized by different developmental stages defined by age ranges. The features of the cup consider the developmental factors related to each age grouping. Following the suggested age range for each cup can aid parents in locating the right kind of cup stage their little one falls into.
Best Toddler Sippy Cups, to see our ratings of the 21 most popular, and highly rated leak-free cups on the market.
Kid bottles are designed for on the go children from 3 to 6 years of age. These vessels feature even larger volume capabilities, of 10 to 15 ounces, and are often insulated for longer days at school, camp, and outdoor activities.
Sippy Cups of Any Stage
Sippy cups are not a requirement for teaching children to drink correctly from a cup. Some specialists even feel it can delay a child's ability or interest in using a real cup. Leak-free cups of any kind are merely a convenience, that we feel can serve a purpose when used in a limited thoughtful manner, that does not inhibit a child's natural desire to learn how to drink from an ordinary cup.
Hey, What's that Cup Made of? Focus on Materials
We've written an article on this topic you might be interested in, Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?
Glass is an inert material that doesn't leach chemicals. Unfortunately, it is breakable, and heavier than plastic. To circumvent this flaw, manufacturers like Lifefactory, include a silicone sleeve with their glass cups to avoid injury to babies should the glass break. That being said, glass cups can, and will, eventually break, even with a silicone sleeve. So caution should be taken when using glass cups, and babies should never be left alone with them.
Let's Talk Spouts
The transition mouthpiece designs are not as varied as that of the toddler cups, but there are still a few options to choose from. Most of the cups we tested in the transition category had soft spouts that were gentle on gums and an easier transition from bottle nipples.
injury, because they do not "give" if a baby should fall on one while using it.
One of the transition cups we tested had a straw mouthpiece; this kind of mouthpiece was more common in the toddler cups than transition cups. Your dentist would likely prefer a straw cup as they decrease the amount of fluid that comes in direct contact with teeth. Although the straw cup in this transition review did not do well for ease of sucking, we still think straw type spouts are a good choice.
While we feel that the type of mouthpiece a transition cup has, and what it is made of, is important, we think that no matter which spout type you choose, that babies should always be encouraged to drink from ordinary cups whenever possible to gain important new skills.
A Word on Valves
In fact, the ADA suggests parents use leak-free cups only for a short duration, that they us cups without valves, and that parent encourage children to master the skill of controlled drinking from a real cup as soon as possible and then discontinue the product.
Sticking with a straw cup eliminates the issue of valves. They also reduce the amount of fluid that comes into contact with teeth, and they typically come with a lid that seals up the straw opening when the cup is not in use.
Safety Firsta potential hazard to babies just learning to toddle about . Cups should never be used while an infant is moving. Research indicates that a child enters the emergency room every 4 hours, on average, with a product related injury from improper cup use; lacerations to the face or palate are the primary injury reported. In fact, between 1991 and 2010, an incidence of 45,000 pediatric injuries presented to ERs as a result of sippy cup use, typically oral lacerations. So be careful when using leak-free cups, follow safe practice directions, and the ADA guidelines below.
The following are best practices for leak-free cup use, as directed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Dental Association (ADA):
Criteria for Evaluation
We considered several metrics while testing and evaluating each transition cup. Our primary categories were ease of use, leakage, ease of cleaning, and eco-health. These categories were further broken down into components relevant to the overall metric.
Ease of Use
Cups must be easy to use, or your child won't be interested in it. Some of the cups we tested were hard to drink from for adults so we can only imagine the difficulty a child might encounter. In-house testers were drawn to specific cups based on looks, shape, and texture, but if the cup was hard to drink from the babies quickly moved on to easier options, or grew frustrated. In general, the babies preferred cups they could easily hold, were fairly light weight, and were easy to drink from. While ease of cleaning, eco-healthy, or leakage might be important to parents, if a baby couldn't get the cup to work, or it was hard to hold, then it wasn't going to be used no matter how much the parents liked it.
The cups below were a few of the most difficult transition cups to use; each earned only a 3 of 10 for this metric. The Nuk Learner Cup, The Playtex Training Time Straw Cup, and Lansinoh mOmma.
The one thing you don't want in a transition sippy cup is leaks. If leaking were the goal, you could just hand that baby a regular cup and let party start. On the go babies and parents look to leak-proof cups to give them the freedom of hydration, without the frustration and hassle of spills. Whether the cup is in your diaper bag, on the couch, or bobbing around the backseat of your car, everyone wants a cup that doesn't leak. Even if the leaking liquid won't stain, they might leave a bad smell, merit a quick clean up, or end with a thirsty child who has nothing to drink. We felt the most important metric was leakage, and if a cup did leak, by how much.
Given this, we tested each cup for its tendency to leak. The cups were put through several leak tests in an effort to illicit possible leaking. The tests helped us to determine which transition cups could hold their liquid, and which could not.
Ease of Cleaning
If a cup wasn't easy to clean, or take apart and re-assemble, then parents aren't going to want to use it; eventually it will end up in the back of the cupboard or a donation bin. We'd all love to think that the only thing that matters is
Unlike the toddler cups, which varied more widely, most of the transitional cups had similar number of parts and assembly. However, the amount of time to assemble the parts varied. While most of the cups only required a basic bottle brush to clean, an item we assume most parents have at least one of, some needed a straw brush to ensure proper cleaning. Lower scores were given to the cups that required more cleaning tools, or that took longer to take apart or assemble.
Eco-health is a very important category to us here at BabyGearLab. We feel that your baby will come in contact with loads of chemicals during their developmental years that could have a negative impact to their sensitive developing systems. Therefore, we feel it is important to limit as many harmful or unknown chemicals and components as you can. Considering the importance of this, we gave higher marks to the cups made from inert materials, like stainless steel and glass.
How to find the Best Transition Sippy article and our Are Plastics Safe for Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups?.
In addition to what the cups were made of, the cups earned points for being insulated which helped keep the cup's contents fresher, and less likely to spoil by retaining a cooler temperature for a longer period of time.
Transition cups also gained points for adhering closer to the ADA guideline of not having a valve, or if there was a valve, then the least amount of required sucking the better. The one straw cup in this review, Playtex Straw Cup, also had a valve, so it did not qualify strictly as a straw cup; a "spout" type the ADA likes better than other styles.
Buying Advice article for more helpful information.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team
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