The 6 Best Transition Sippy Cups
As your baby becomes a toddler, the best transition sippy cup will help them say goodbye to bottles (or breast) and move toward drinking from cups, cutting back on spills along the way.
That said, experts will tell you that it's actually best to transition straight to an open cup, or at the very least, to using a straw. However, if the idea of cleaning up endless messes doesn't appeal to you, don't worry. As long as your child uses a sippy cup in moderation (to avoid things like dental decay and oral motor delays), having a sippy cup in the mix is okay.
Here’s what you need to know about each type of sippy cup:
- Hard or soft spout: These may be the easiest first sippy cups for your baby transitioning off the bottle because the soft spout requires sucking rather than sipping to drink. Soft spouts will feel more familiar to babies used to a bottle's nipple, and are usually suitable from 6 months of age. But, as babies start teething and perhaps chewing on the spout, a hard spout might make more sense.
- Straw: A sippy cup with a straw is the next best thing to using an open cup, according to WebMd. Expect it to take some time for your baby or toddler to learn to suck through a straw though.
- Flat lid: With no spout, liquid is released from any edge of a 360-degree sippy cup when lips are pressed on it. These tend to be easier to clean thanks to fewer parts, and it's the closest design to an open cup.
In terms of other nice features, sippy cups with lids that can be closed for travel are ideal for on-the-go use, and some sippy cups have specially designed handles or ribbed edges for a comfortable grip. Most sippy cups are affordable and made of plastic, but be sure to choose a BPA-free option. Stainless steel cups are a more durable investment, but there is the added weight to contend with.
All of my picks are top-rack dishwasher safe, but note that cups with many parts or hard-to-reach spots can be harder to disassemble and clean.
Below, you'll find a transition sippy cup or two that works for your family.
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1. The Best Soft Spout Sippy Cup
This soft spout sippy cup, with a silicone spout and two handles, is a good place to start for babies moving away from bottles. Both 8-ounce cups included in the pack are made of BPA-free plastic and are leak-resistant thanks to a pressure-sensitive spout that helps regulate the flow of liquid as your child sucks on the spout (the valve closes when your child stops).
Though reviewers commented this dishwasher-safe cup is easy to wash, it's worth noting that inserting the unique spout is a little different from other cups, but it comes with illustrated instructions and reviewers report it’s simple to do once you get the hang of it.
A helpful review: “I’ve purchased 6 different kinds of “first stage” [sippies] trying to find one my daughter likes. She was 6 months old when I tried these and while she still doesn’t care for sippies much, she does best with the size, shape, and spout of these. I don’t have a dishwasher so, being so easy to disassemble, wash, and reassemble is a huge plus for Mom, but I do wish the handles were removable.”
2. The Best Hard Spout Sippy Cup
If you're interested in a hard spout sippy cup for your little one, this pick delivers without any spills or leaks (thanks to the one-piece, easy-to-clean silicone valve). The dishwasher-safe cups (there are three in this set) can also be used without the valve for drinking without sucking. One reviewer commented it was the only cup that survived her “pitbull” of a baby who chewed through many other sippy cups.
This 10-ounce cup is made from recycled milk jugs free of BPA, phthalates, PVC and melamine. This pick also has a 4.6-star rating with more than 500 reviews on Amazon, and it's made in the U.S.
A helpful review: “Chances are that if you've been a parent for a couple of years you know the struggle well. The never ending search for the perfect sip cup that balances usability and ease of cleaning. Stop looking. You've found it. You're done. I realize you may be at a loss as to what to do with your life now, but once you are over the shock and odd sense of loss you'll be so much better for it. [...]”
3. The Best Straw Sippy Cup
Most straw cups can be turned over by curious toddlers who want to spill water or milk, but the OXO transition straw cup prevents spills with a valve in the straw; this also means they’ll have to learn to bite down slightly on the straw to drink. If you want an absolutely leakproof straw cup, go for this one, but know there’s a learning curve. And though it's not weighted, the wide, straight straw works better than some others for consistent drinking.
For added protection, the BPA-free plastic cup has a hinged cap and removable handles. The cup is dishwasher safe and the straw is in two pieces for easier cleaning; you’ll want to clean the straw with a small brush thoroughly because of the interior valve, especially if you use this cup for milk.
This 6-ounce cup also has highly visible measurement markings, and a soft, comfortable, non-slip grip.
A helpful review: “Omg. I love this sippy cup. [...] The straw on this cup reaches the bottom of the cup and our little one always gets it all with no problem. [...] All the parts are super strong and withstand every throw from the high chair. It is also super easy to clean; Just make sure you have a straw cleaning brush, otherwise milk will start accumulating and dry up inside the straw parts. I would totally recommend!!”
4. The Best Weighted Straw Sippy Cup
If you want to start with a straw cup, a weighted straw sippy cup is a great transitional cup because it won’t get stuck on one side of the cup and thus allows for continuous drinking. This BPA-free plastic cup (which comes in an affordable two-pack set) features handles that are helpful for beginners and a covered lid that's great for travel.
The 9-ounce cup is dishwasher-safe and comes with a straw cleaning brush for convenience.
A helpful review: “These cups are amazing! Best ones we have tried, so glad I found them! I just ordered my second set. [...] This Dr Brown one has already hit the floor three times (thanks to my 19 month old) & it’s still perfectly fine. The weighted straw works nicely, the lid doesn’t bother her even though it sticks up & the brush they send to clean the straw with is amazing! 100% worth it. Will probably order another set soon.”
5. The Best Spoutless Sippy Cup
The popular and highly rated Munchkin 360 cup has more than 11,000 reviews and stands out with its flat lid that resembles a regular cup. It's billed as being "recommended by dentists" for its spoutless design. It has a valve that closes when a child is not drinking for a leakproof seal. It also promises to be spill-proof, though some reviewers note the cup will leak a bit if thrown.
The BPA-free plastic cup holds 7 ounces and is lightweight, and it has two handles for a comfortable hold. It's also top-rack dishwasher safe. With no straws or extra parts, it's especially easy to clean.
A helpful review: “I bought these cups for my toddler and she absolutely loves them! The handles were easy for baby to grip and she got the hang of the spoutless construction rather quickly [...] We loved the cups so much that we bought another set of 2, and invested in the stainless steel versions as well. Highly recommended!”
6. The Best Insulated Sippy Cup
The best insulated sippy cup works just like the classic Munchkin 360 cup above but in a larger size and more durable stainless steel. With its 10-ounce capacity and no-handle design, this vacuum-sealed stainless steel cup (with a silicone flat lid) is a great investment for toddlers or preschoolers. It keeps drinks cold for up to 15 hours and it comes with an on-the-go cover. This cup is top-rack dishwasher safe and easy to clean with few parts.
A helpful review: “I already love the Munchkin 360 cups and we have a bunch, but I wanted one that's insulated to keep my toddler's drinks colder longer. This works great! One time I put ice water in it before bed and in the morning, there was still ice! They are easy to clean and leak proof (unless the child drops it on the floor, then some might leak out). Overall, I'd highly recommend.”
Also Great: An Ultra-Durable Glass For Small Hands
I first ordered these as glasses for my home but didn’t realize how small they were. Fast forward a few years later, and they’re the perfect first open cup for my toddler.
Made of tempered glass, these little French cups hold 5 ¾ ounces and are pretty much unbreakable. The faceted design offers good grip for little hands, and your child can use this set for years beyond transitional sippy cups. Turns out other parents figured this out, too. Reviewers love using these open cups for children and report they have survived many a fall onto the floor. They're also dishwasher safe and the easiest to clean on my list.
A helpful review: “Don't want to jinx myself, but so far these are toddler-proof! I got this set to go with our full-sized versions since the Montessori approach for real cutlery/dishes appeals to us. My two year old seems to manage open cups better when he can see the contents and isn't distracted by fun character prints on the sides of cups. We've had these for months and they have been durable, through daily use, dishwasher cycles, and even a few tumbles on to hardwood floors from the table. They look and feel nice too!”
Bonus: A Snack Bag To Go With Your Sippy Cup
If you’re using a sippy cup while out and about with your little one and trying to avoid spills, you may also be interested in a low-mess snack container. These reusable silicone snack bags are a favorite. They’re leakproof when closed, and easy for my son to reach in for snacks without being totally open to spill his food. Fellow parents at the park always ask me about this Stasher snack bag.
The dishwasher-safe bag holds 9.9-ounces and comes in lots of colors, including aqua, green, and hot pink. It also has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with more than 5,000 reviews.
A helpful review: “We use the snack size bag for our toddler's snacks EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. If you have a toddler, you know that snacks are life. We cannot leave the house without at least one type of snack packed. These bags are fantastic for whatever crackers, grapes, [Cheerios], cookies...etc are deemed the snack of the day (or hour).[...]”