A GUIDE TO THE BEST TODDLER TRANSITION CUPS FOR MOMS SWITCHING FROM BOTTLES TO MILK
When my kids were transitioning from breastfeeding and formula to milk, I went through so many different types of transition cups trying to find the perfect one.
If you don’t want to purchase a million different toddler cups to find the best ones, this guide is for you. You’ll also find it helpful if you’re a new mom who isn’t sure WHAT to look for in a transition cup.
What Makes a Great Toddler Cup?
My criteria for a great transition cup for my one-year-old is simple and probably the same as what you want in a cup as well.
- Easy to clean
- Not many parts
- Easy to drink from
1. Easy To Clean
This is pretty self explanatory. With two kids and a husband, I feel like I’m doing dishes ALL THE TIME. I want toddler cups that are easy to clean by hand or that can be tossed into the dishwasher.
I also want them to be easy to clean to make sure I can get them as clean as possible. You definitely don’t want missed milk reside sitting inside your toddler’s cup and growing mold. Ew.
2. Not Many Parts
I was so excited when it was time to wean my kids off bottles – it meant I could finally stop washing a million different pump parts and bottle accessories every night. Then, I realized I was STILL washing so many tiny little pieces night after night because of all the different cups we were using.
I want a cup that doesn’t have a lot of parts to it. Three total pieces are ideal! There’s less of a chance you’ll lose something and have to buy a replacement or (if they don’t carry replacement parts) end up having to throw the whole cup away.
This is obvious. Kids are messy. I don’t want a cup that creates more of a mess.
The funny thing about one-year-olds is that at the same time they’re learning how to feed themselves and drink from a cup, they’re also learning how to throw things.
This is totally developmentally normal and helps them understand cause and effect. But, it means I need a cup that can withstand being thrown from a four-foot highchair over and over and over again.
While I do want a quality transition cup, I don’t want to pay a super high price for something that my one-year-old might not even want to drink from. Plus, throughout their entire toddlerhood, I know I’ll be buying ten thousand cups, as they get destroyed or lost, so affordability is important.
6. Easy to Drink From
Transitions are hard! I don’t want a cup that my baby has to struggle to figure out how to use. The best transition cups are easy to drink from for young toddlers.
Other Helpful Items When Transitioning To Cups
Along with the transition cups recommended below, I also love our splat mat. It’s waterproof so you can wipe up spills quickly and easily!
If you want to prevent your toddler from constantly throwing their cup on the floor, a sippy cup strap is a great idea!
You can also try a busy mat — something like this works great if there’s no place on your highchair to attach a cord. Simply stick it onto the surface of your tray and use one of the silicone tethers to attach the cup (I strap it around the handle).
I will be honest though: my son tends to rips his mat off his highchair and throws it to the ground, milk cup and all. However, for a baby who doesn’t have strength like the Hulk, I think this mat would work great!
Now, onto the best transition cups for one year olds. These transition cups are all toddler tested and mom-approved!
The Best Sippy transition Cup
I try to limit my kids’ use of sippy cups, simply because it’s not great for their oral-motor development. You can read more about WHY in this article, written by a speech-language pathologist.
However, sometimes it’s the easiest way to go. If I don’t feel like hand washing a bunch of tiny parts and don’t want to worry about a mess, I’ll pull out the trusty NUK Learner Cup.
I also really like this option as a FIRST cup for my baby when transitioning from the bottle and first introducing milk. It’s similar to a bottle nipple so I feel like it’s somewhat easier for them to understand how to drink from it.
The handles make it easy for little hands to grip and they can be removed as your baby grows. I’ve also never had a spill with this cup (and it’s been tossed off the highchair many MANY times).
The best part about this cup is that it doesn’t have a lot of parts and it’s super easy to clean. I usually toss it in the dishwasher.
Recommended for ages 6 months and up. It comes in 5 oz and 10 oz options.
- Easy to clean (and dishwasher safe)
- Only four parts (including the handle) so the risk of losing a piece is low
- Sippy cup (not ideal for oral-motor development
The Best Straw transition Cup
This is my favorite weighted straw cup.
In comparison, we have not had good luck with the Munchkin weighted straw cup. My son rips the lid that covers the straw off all the time. I also have trouble screwing the top part on so it closes completely. The straw is very thin and you have to squeeze it a certain way to rinse water through, which makes it difficult to clean.
The Dr. Brown’s Baby’s First Straw Cup has a two-piece straw. They’re super easy to put together and insert into the cup hole. Plus, they’re very easy to clean with a small brush (bonus: it comes with a straw cleaning brush).
The handles are removable so you can use them or keep them off. We haven’t had any issues with leaking.
Another issue with some of the straw cups is liquid getting caught in the straw and spraying or leaking out the top but I haven’t had that happen with our Dr. Brown’s.
The lid stays attached, which I thought would be annoying, but my son hasn’t had any issues with it.
It’s dishwasher safe and you can buy replacement straws for cheap!
- Easy to clean
- Easy to assemble
- Doesn’t leak
- Multiple pieces (five in total)
The Best 360 Transition Cup
The Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer is my favorite 360 cup.
In my experience, it doesn’t spill and doesn’t leak (even when dropped).
I love that it mimics a regular cup so babies can learn how to take sips, but it’s less messy than giving your one-year-old an open cup to drink from.
Babies might have a hard time figuring out how to drink from the cup. It takes a little effort to get the liquid out. However, both my kids figured this out quickly and it wasn’t an issue for us.
You just want to make sure you disassemble all the parts for cleaning, including the silicone ring that goes around the top piece. This cup is otherwise easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- Mimics real cup
- Need to disassemble all parts for cleaning (four parts total)
- Might be difficult to use at first
Best Travel Transition Cup
Playtex Sipsters Stage 3 Straw cup is my favorite for grabbing when we’re on the go and traveling in the car. It fits nicely into our car seat cup holders (we have a Graco 4Ever and Graco Extend2Fit).
I also like this one best to send with my kids to daycare. It’s double insulated, so keeps their drinks cold. The straw is easy to pull out of the cap for cleaning and to insert back it. It’s spillproof and durable.
The one issue we had with these is that the liquid will sometimes leak out of the straw but I use it as a water cup (and not milk) so it’s not that big of an issue. It’s one of the easier to clean travel cups that we’ve tried and the pros outweigh any of the cons for me!
The Chico Straw cup is a runner-up in this category for me. I like it just as much as the Playtex but it doesn’t fit into our car seat cup holder, so it’s not as great to bring along with us when we go out.
- Fits into car seat cup holder for travel
- Keeps liquids cold
- Liquids can leak up out of the straw
- Straw separates into two parts that can be easy to misplace (we’ve had multiple top parts of the straw go missing)
The Most Affordable Transition Cup
The First Years Take & Toss straw cups are my favorite cost-effective cups for toddlers. I use these mostly for my three year old, but my one-year-old drinks out of them too.
The biggest con with the take and toss straw cups are that they do leak and the cover pops off if the cup is thrown off the highchair (a frequent occurrence in our house). Plus, my one-year-old can pull the straw out of the cup so I usually give him this cup right before bathtime when I don’t care if he gets really messy.
However, they are super easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and so cheap! They’re great for when friends or cousins come over to play and come in multiple different colors so each kid can have their own color cup.
You do need to remember to put the cover on first and then put the straw in, or else the liquid will squirt out of the cup.
If you aren’t a fan of hard plastic straws, you can buy reusable silicone straws to fit in the cup instead.
These are recommended by the manufacturer for ages 18 months +.
- Easy to clean
- NOT leakproof
- NOT spillproof
The Best of the Best
So which of these transition cups is the best of the best?
Well, to be honest, I think they are all great for different purposes!
If I had to choose only one of these cups to use for the duration of my kids’ toddler years, I would pick this one.
You can use it as a milk cup or water cup, bring it on the go, it’s durable, easy to clean, leakproof, and spillproof.
Final Thoughts on Transition Cups for One Year Olds
The baby transition cups in this article are my personal favorite. They’ve been tried and tested by my two kids and we love them all! You may have to go through a bunch of different cups before you find your unicorn. Look for cups that are easy to clean, don’t have too many parts, and are leakproof.