The Great Toddler Transition: From Bottles to Sippy Cups

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One of the great rites of passage from infant to toddler is transitioning from bottles to sippy cups, and formula or breast milk to whole milk.  It can seem overwhelming; there are a lot of options.  An Amazon search for “sippy cup” returns over 1,000 results.  Do you get a spout or straw?  A silicone spout or a hard one?  Do you spring for the Mercedes of sippy cups or will the $2 one work just fine?  And, once you narrow all those choices down to the perfect cup — how do you actually get your child to drink from it?

Life with twins is an exciting, wild ride.  But, the transition from bottles to sippy cups in our house felt bizarrely easy.  It may have been luck, but my fingers are crossed that our journey to sippy cups may help someone anxious about or struggling with the great transition.

Twins drink from nuk sippy cups
Transitioning from bottles to sippy cups does not have to be hard.  We did it and so can you. 

Start early and with low expectations

When my babes were comfortable eating baby cereal and purées, we started offering a sippy cup with water in it any time they had a meal in their high chairs.  Sometimes they needed help with the cup or simply did not touch the cup at all, but eventually they got the hang of it and were drinking water with every meal.

baby tries straw cup
Go slow and keep it simple. Baby girl’s first attempt at a straw cup did not quench her thirst.

Gradually take it up a notch

Once the babes generally were comfortable with sippy cups, we started putting formula (works with breast milk, too) in the sippy cups at breakfast time.  From day one, there were no problems.  Ever.  Eventually, we put the afternoon formula bottle in a sippy cup.  While it was mostly smooth sailing, every now and then my daughter demanded a bottle. 

The ultimate plunge: using whole milk

The day after the twins first birthday, we replaced the formula in the sippy cup with whole milk.  Cold turkey.  I do not think those kids noticed or cared.  They sucked it right down.  The same day, we tackled my ultimate sippy cup transition fear, their regular nighttime bottle was replaced with a sippy cup.  For the most part, the babes were fine with it.  Every now and then over the course of two weeks, my baby girl just would not have the night milk unless it was in a bottle.  Then I discovered and exclusively gave her night milk in a 10 ounce Nuk Learner Cup, which seems to imitate a bottle.  We have had no problems since then.

Don’t Tease.  What cups did you use? 

Here are our TOP FOUR SIPPY CUPS from the journey from infant to big kid.

  • Nuk Learner Cup. Nuk is hands down the sippy cup of choice in our house, likely because it feels similar to a bottle.  We use a mix of both the 5 and 10-ounce cups. 
  • Munchkin 360 Trainer Cup. My kids like the Munchkin 360 and folks seem to rave about it being leak proof.  My experience is that it generally is leak proof, except for when my son throws it on the floor — which is a regular occurrence. 
  • Contigo Spill-Proof Straw Tumbler. This straw cup really does not leak, with one minor exception.  Pro tip: do not use this cup on an airplane.  As the cabin pressure changes, water starts to come up the straw!
  • Camelbak Eddy Water Bottle.  For your toddlers and big kids on the playground, the Camelbak Eddy is a classic.
toddler drinks from solo cup
Slow down, little man. You just transitioned to sippy cups, let’s save the red solo cups for another day.  

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase some of these products it doesn’t change your price, but we would get a teeny tiny portion to support our blog and we would be so appreciative. 

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Born and raised on the bayou in South Louisiana, Angelle moved to DC for undergrad at Georgetown. After working on the Hill and Disney's government relations office, Angelle traded-in her Mickey Mouse ears for law school at GW. An election law and white-collar defense attorney at Covington & Burling, Angelle's other full-time job is mom to twin toddlers Emma and Evan (2016). She and her husband Jordan live on Capitol Hill/H Street, where the twins excitedly yell "choo choo" every time they see the streetcar. In her spare time, Angelle scours the internet for coordinating smocked clothing for her twins and dreaming about the international family travel she will do once Emma and Evan learn to sleep or watch feature-length movies on a plane. All posts are her own views.