Written by Foundling Guest Blogger, Stephanie Kearns, Director of Business Operations
A couple of weekends ago, I was frantically looking for the spout piece to match the lid of the pink and yellow cup before heading out for our play date. It must have fallen into a black hole because still today, I can’t find that piece. It’s like case of the missing sock in the dryer. Every mom and dad has a story about the hundreds of parts and pieces of the stuff that our kids accumulate but nothing is quite as maddening as the toddler cup epidemic.
I took this photo (attached) to showcase the myriad options that one can choose as a Sippy Cup. This is my own collection pared down.
Below is my personal experience of the best and worst options to help save you the headache and wasted money finding just the right one.
I’ve divided the options into 3 categories; spout, straw and sip and based my review on three key factors: ease of cleaning, ease of assembling, effectiveness.
The spout is your traditional lid with a defined spout with little holes to dispense water when your kiddo tilts the cup back. The straw is the built-in straw sucking mechanism that allows the child to hold the cup upright. Lastly the sip option which mimics the idea of an adult cup by using a lid that, when you tilt back to drink requires soft pressure of your child’s mouth to release water with slower flow than regular drinking speed.
Sip – this was the loser for me. The parts are extremely tough to install and if one piece isn’t in place the water dumps all over your child. With at least 4 parts on average, the likelihood of using this cup more than the first time is rare. Thumbs down!
Straw – if I had to pick a 2nd place, this would be it. There are various types of straw cups and some are better than others. The cup with the straw that retracts when you fold over a closing apparatus is the worst kind due to the very difficult installation of weaving the straw through a tiny opening every time you dismantle and clean. But the hard straw option that folds over can be pretty good as long as you keep a watchful eye on your little one since there is usually no flow stopper.
This is the winner for me. The spout teaches your child to use a cup the way it is intended so the transition to a real cup is easier. This version also has the least amount of parts with typically 2 or 3 maximum so it is easier to take apart, clean and store parts. The downside to this version is the flow control pieces. Sometimes the removable parts that control how fast or slow the water can come out are too tight and make it hard for the child to get any water and others are too fast and cause the child to choke on water. The Playtex Playtime version has been the most successful option for my little one.
A few last thoughts…
Don’t count on the “spill proof” promise. Nothing is spill proof when it comes to a toddler! Lastly, the best piece of advice I can give you is don’t collect too many versions of cups. It is tough to remember the matching of parts and cups. You end up relying on the one cup out of twenty because you can’t match the pieces!