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By Julie Pennell

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Some of the most popular questions in the various Facebook parent groups I belong to are about sippy cups. Moms ask, “Which ones don’t spill?" Or, "Which ones do your kids like?"

Some even ask, "Which one will my kid actually drink from?”

I, myself, have purchased multiple sippy cups trying to find the perfect one for my now 15-month-old. It can be frustrating.

So, while it’s all about trial and error when it comes to finding the right one for your kid, I've discovered there are certain things you should look out for.

Why get sippy cups for toddlers?

  1. They tame the toddler mess. Dr. Robin Jacobson, a pediatrician at NYU Langone Health, told TODAY that sippy cups can make parents lives easier by decreasing mess in the house. “Parents love sippy cups because when children toss them across the room, they do not spill like an open lidded cup.” At least that’s the goal, right?
  2. They give kids autonomy: I’ve seen with my own kid how much he loves drinking out of a “big boy cup.” In fact, he probably drinks more water than me now, which is a habit I’d like for him to keep into adulthood. Jacobson advises that water should be in the cup the majority of the time. Having sugary drinks like juice in there could negatively affect a kid’s diet and overall health.

When should you introduce a sippy cup for babies?

  1. Your baby or toddler needs an alternative to the bottle: Jacobson said you can start introducing sippy cups as early as four months.
  2. Your baby can sit upright. Most kids start using sippy cups between six and nine months of age, when the kids are able to sit up and eat solid foods well.

How to pick the best sippy cup for toddlers and babies

  1. Pick a sippy cup with two handles. “The best sippy cups to start with are trainer cups, which are the ones with two handles,” she said.
  2. Look for a soft nipple. A soft nipple is great because it’s similar to a bottle nipple, and the kid has already excelled at this way of drinking, Jacobson said.
  3. Find a cup that's hard to spill. You could try a 360 cup with two handles, which is more like drinking from a standard cup. “The 360 cups are a wonderful choice since you can drink from anywhere on the rim and it seals itself back up so it is difficult to spill.”

The best sippy cups for babies

After using a bunch of different sippy cups on my own son and talking to a top pediatrician about what to look for, these are the best sippy cups I've found.

  • 1. NUK Learner Sippy Cup, $10, Amazon

Out of all the trainer cups I personally tried, this one is mine and my son’s favorite. It’s easy for him to hold and use, but when he throws it on the floor, water doesn’t go everywhere.

  • 2. Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup (2-Pack), $11 (usually $13), Amazon

This cup probably gets the most love from moms in all of my Facebook parent groups. Fellow mom Michelle Piccolo raved about it to me. Her 13-month-old son uses it and loves it. “It’s a trainer cup for drinking out of a normal cup, making it an easier transition for when that time eventually comes,” she said. It’s also easy to clean and travels well. I bought one thanks to her (and all the other recommendations), and my son likes drinking from it, too. The only caveat is that if you have a kid who loves to throw things on the ground (like mine), this cup often spills on impact.

  • 3. Nuby No-Spill Super Spout Easy Grip Cup (2-Pack), $8, Amazon

If you’re past the trainer handles, but still want a soft-spout cup, this is a great option. It’s got a contoured, grippy base which makes it easy for kids to hold. My son and I love this one, and it doesn’t leak — what more could you ask for?

Sippy cups for older kids

Have an older child who can benefit from a sippy cup? Here's how to find the best sippy cups for older kids and get kids to drink from them:

  1. Get kids comfortable with straws. Jacobson recommends straw sippy cups without the handles for older kids. Bonus: “The straw sippy cups might even help with children who have speech problems,” she said.
  2. Try hard-lip sippy cups. If your kid is older and you’re having to pack meals for daycare, this is a good option, since — in theory — the cup shouldn’t spill in a lunch box.

Our picks for the best sippy cups for kids

  • 1. Philips Avent My Bendy Straw Cup (2-Pack), $9, Amazon

Beside the fun colors, this straw cup is a popular choice because of how well it works. Mom Olivia Porcello Cody told me it was a great transition to a straw for her son, who was used to tipping his bottle and spout sippy cups back. The curved straw helps with that transition.

  • 2. CamelBak eddy Kids Water Bottle, $13, Amazon

This is an Amazon best-seller in the kids’ water bottles category, and my friend Rosa Nevins said she and her 17-month old son love this one the most. “We’ve tried all the sippy cups,” she told me. “The straw ones have been easiest to transition to.” What she appreciates about this one is that it comes apart and is easy to clean.

  • 3. Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Sippy Bottle, $20, Amazon

If you don’t want to use a plastic sippy cup, consider this stainless steel and silicone one. A couple of moms in one of my Facebook groups raved about it. “We introduced it at six months, and today, at 16 months, our little guy is great at staying hydrated with water,” said Lindsey Voorhees. It also has the look of an adult water bottle, which will make kids feel extra grown up.

  • 4. The First Years Take & Toss Spill-Proof Sippy Cups, $3 (usually $4), Amazon

My friend Jordan Harris, who has a five-year-old and 15-month-old, said she loves these Take & Toss cups. “They are inexpensive, and both boys loved using them,” she said. “They’re easy to clean, and I don’t feel bad if they get lost.” She does warn that you can’t put them in your bag when they’re filled with water because they’ll spill.

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