From Bottle to Beaker - Our Favourite Drinking Cups
The NHS and the British Dental Health Foundation recommend that your baby finishes drinking from a bottle by the age of one. Also once they can sit up unaided they can start using some form of cup. The reason being that teats encourage sucking for a longer period of time, which can mean the drinks that cause tooth decay are in contact with your child's teeth for longer. Using a free-flow cup without a valve or an open cup will help your little one learn to sip rather than suck, which is better for their teeth. However, non spill beakers or valved cups are likely to be more practical on some occasions.
When your child is transitioning from breast and/or bottle to a cup or beaker of some form there are so many options on the market. Too many options maybe. Like the assortment of names (straws, spouts, free flow, valve etc) there is an assortment of quality. My friend once told me that in her quest to find the perfect beaker she had accumulated a whole drawer of different ones for her baby and toddler, ranging from the free flow type to the so called “non spill” beakers.
However, not all “non spill” cups or beakers manage to live up to their promises. If a child throws their beaker onto the floor and it lands pointing downwards, even the best non spill beaker is liable to leak a little. But on the whole you should be able to turn them upside down without spills and also trust putting them in your bag. They are a convenience product really.
Whilst toddlers might be perfectly capable of drinking from an open cup, they may not always be trustworthy, and for a drink on the go, both inside and outside, I prefer to have the peace of mind of a non spill beaker.
They are also more handy for keeping children hydrated as you can have them with you at all times. This is so important as they usually need reminders to keep drinking, especially in hot weather, when they are too busy having fun. A sign of a de-hydrated toddler/child can be naughty or whinging behaviour. So when trouble shooting that tantrum, try adding a drink of water to your arsenal.
So, I now too have my own drawer full of cups and beakers. Let me save you some wasted money with my recommendations to transition from bottle to beaker.
Tommee Tippee First Cup
This was the first cup that I used on both of my babies. Marketed to be suitable from 4 months plus, but I think my two were a touch older for their first try. It is a free flow cup, which means (to the delight of my now toddlers) once the spout is open they can turn it upside down and the drink can just puddle on the floor! For this reason I only use them for water. The benefit of this is that they don’t have to suck too hard and I think that makes it easy for the really little ones to use, once they have got the hang of needing to tip it up. But well into the toddler years now we still have them in the cupboard. Little ones can master holding these themselves pretty quickly because of the two handles and it is a very portable size. We have these in the larger size too, without handles.
This little training cup is excellent for teaching your little one to drink from a normal open cup. I was told about these by my Health Visitor. It is designed so that as they tip it up all the angles are right for your little one to see the liquid and drink accurately. This is an inexpensive and neat little way to transition.
Tommee Tippee Insulated Straw Beaker
Teaching your child to drink from a straw cup early on has dental benefits, and also practical ones. If you have forgotten your beaker when you are out and about, pretty much every café/restaurant will have straws available that they can use. After breast feeding, and then bottle/mixed feeding, these were the first beakers that we used, both for milk and other drinks. My daughter started using one from about 10/11 months old. My two had no problems figuring out how to drink from the straw and not tip them up. They need to be taken apart to clean properly, but once you get into the swing of it this becomes routine and you can just pop them in the dishwasher. They don’t last forever, none of these things do with frequent daily use! Eventually we have found that the non spill function will stop working. For the price though they last plenty long enough. They are insulated too which helps for a short while with warmed milk, e.g. warmed before bath and it is still a nice for story time. These are our every day beakers for out and about and at home. I have found these in every UK supermarket I have looked for them in, and usually can get them on Amazon. Here is a link so you can see the beaker, but there might be better sellers/more stock, so shop around.
Munchkin Miracle 360 Degree Sippy Cup
More recently we were introduced to these. They have the benefit of needing to be tipped up like a normal cup, but without a spout which I really like. According to a recent "tweet" from Munchkin UK, these cups are also dentist approved - bonus. The cleverly designed insert in the top mostly stops the spills. If my toddlers chuck them on the floor, a bit will splosh out. I don’t 100% trust them in my bag so I am careful to keep them upright, but I have found them to be pretty good. Overall, the children really like them and so do I. A big plus point is that they are really easy to completely take apart and pop through the dishwasher. Munchkin also sell a trainer cup, which is a little smaller and has handles.
The Amazon links above are FLS affiliate ones, for your shopping convenience.