Now I was on the hunt for a perfect straw training cup. How does one even start teaching baby to drink from the straw? After some research I came across this straw cup:
Playtex Baby First Lil’ Gripper Twist ‘n Click Straw Trainer Cup, 7 Ounce ($7.99 on Amazon*, from $8.25 on eBay, $13.99 for a pack of 2 on Amazon)
*For some reason, the Amazon listing includes two different variations of the Lil’ Gripper cup, 6oz and 7oz. I have both and they have absolutely nothing in common. The cup I’m talking about right now is the 7oz one, the 6oz cup will be reviewed next. Please note that the prices mentioned in this post are current at the time of writing and may differ.
This cup doesn’t have a traditional “leak-proof” valve, but it does have sort of a “double straw”. It leaks a few drops if you shake it really, really hard, but stays nicely shut and spill-free when the lid is in the “closed” position. You MUST twist the lid all the way past the little triangle sign in order for it to be leak-free. One drawback of this cup – it doesn’t really give you any kind of a click to indicate that it’s locked, but you can somewhat feel it. Just keep an eye on the triangle mark.
On to the Baby Test! Now, this is the reason why I absolutely LOVE this straw cup and recommend it to every single mom who is wondering how to teach her baby to drink from a straw. This cup is squeezable – you can lightly squeeze the sides, if you wish, and the liquid will rise in the straw allowing your baby to taste it and get the hint of what to do with the cup. It took Baby Pumpkin less than ten seconds to figure out how to get water out!!! She looked at the cup, picked it up, and before I knew it she was sucking away on the straw making cute happy noises. Success!
NOTE: this is why it’s particularly important to start with the 7oz version of the cup. 6oz Lil’ Gripper, besides having totally different design, is not squeezable whatsoever. Also, I have a feeling that Playtex stopped manufacturing this particular version of the cup because it is not sold anymore at our local Babies R Us, Target or Walmart. You can still find it on Amazon and on eBay, so get yours while you still can! There is no other straw training cup out there that works as well as this one.
Baby Pumpkin is now 10 months old and we still use this cup everyday for water. For milk, however, we use a different one, because, sadly, as great as the 7oz Lil’ Gripper is, the straw is just a little too short so the last ounce or so always remains in the cup. Fine for water, but breastmilk / formula is just way too precious and expensive to be wasted like that.
Now that Baby Pumpkin was doing great with the Lil’ Gripper, I was on the hunt for a good straw cup that had a straw reaching all the way to the bottom. Right about that time I got this cup as a free gift with purchase from Babies R Us and decided to try it out:
This cup is marketed as leak-free and it truly is. Partially, because there is no force in this world that can make the liquid come out of the straw after the cup is locked. I was sucking on the straw as hard as I could but no water seemed to be flowing. Maybe babies have greater suction powers than adults, I thought, and gave it to Pumpkin for a Baby Test. Nope. She gave up after a few unsuccessful attempts. Verdict: not usable since nobody in the household including my husband was able to get any liquid out. After playing with the valve and a kitchen knife for a bit, the water started flowing a little better but at that point I hated the cup.
Next straw cup to try:
Playtex TrainingTime BPA Free Lil’ Gripper Straw Trainer – 6 Ounce ($5.99 at Babies R Us, $5.99 on Amazon*)
Longer straw? Check. Squeezable sides? No, but at that point Baby Pumpkin already knew how to use the straw so no need for those. Leak-proof? Yes, with or without lid closed.
Baby Pumpkin had no problem taking this straw cup and after a week or so switched to drinking all her milk from it. Success! For older babies, Playtex also makes the 9oz version of this cup (no handles):
The best part of teaching your baby how to drink for the straw? She can now drink from ANY straw, so if you forget to bring her favorite cup to a restaurant – no big deal, grab a regular straw and a paper cup and you are good to go. Plus, it’s supposed to be better for their teeth compared to a traditional sippy cup with a spout.
For slightly older babies, here is a good alternative to pricey valve-type cups:
The First Years Take & Toss Straw Cups, 10 Ounce, 4 Pack ($2.83 for 4 on Amazon, $2.68 at Walmart)
The straw is not soft like in the other cups so make sure your baby is old enough to be able to handle it. Also, the lid might come off if the cup is thrown with significant force, but with routine “drop from a high chair tray” kind of use it stays on pretty well – no spills. The price beats it all – no worries if the cup gets left behind in the park or lands in the dog poop on its way out of the stroller (whoops). They also make a spout-type version, cute baby bowls, spoons, forks, and much more! Quality is great for the price you pay, and you can even buy a whole set:
Another straw cup that is great for babies who prefer to drink at weird angles (e.g., babies who got used to tipping their bottles upside down):
Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup, 7 Ounce ($6.99 on Amazon, $6.99 at Babies R Us)
We have one for when we go for a walk in the stroller and Baby Pumpkin is leaning back quite a bit. She can truly get every last drop out, and the cup is leak-free (twist till you hear the click!). The part I don’t like about it – the lid comes off every time the cup is dropped, and sometimes it slides open in the diaper bag. So, not for routine feedings, but great for a weird-angle use.
Whichever cup you choose – have fun using it, and good luck!
Which one is your favorite cup?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”