Reasons why you should not use Toddler Sippy Cups

Alternatives to Sippy Cups

No more Sippy cups.  This topic is somewhat controversial. Though this is my opinion, there is research proving there is no benefit to sippy cups.  If you speak with Speech Therapists or Speech Pathologists they will tell you sippy cups do not benefit your child.  Working as an Early Intervention Therapist, I have worked closely with many Speech Therapists.  No more toddler sippy cups for your little ones.  Say no to a sippy cup and learn the alternatives. 


Be sure to print out 15 Toddler Smoothie Recipes to help your Toddler drink from a straw or a cup.


This is a long post and I understand you may not have the time to read this now.  Instead of scrolling through why don’t I send you the cliff notes version so you can read it when it’s good for you.  (Remember how great cliff notes were?) 

No more sippy cups.  Finding the right cup for your toddler


Reasons to not use a baby sippy cup with your toddler
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Parents need to stop using Sippy-cups.  Unfortunately, parents feel that using a Sippy cup is the next step after a bottle or breastfeeding.  This is completely untrue.  There are alternatives to sippy cups.  The Sippy cup does nothing for your toddler’s development.  The use of a Sippy cup is not considered a milestone.  I understand that parents like the Sippy cup because of the “no spill” factor.  I know that you’re thinking of your little one making a mess and you want to limit that.  Sometimes you have to deal with a little-spilled milk. (Joking but there’s truth in that.)


Fun Fact:  Sippy cups were not made to help children but to help parents instead.



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Reasons your child does not Benefit from a Baby Sippy Cup 


Learn why toddler sippy cups are more of a hindrance than a help.


A baby sippy cup prevents the tongue from moving up, actually keeping it down.  Using a baby sippy cup is the same type of motion, a sucking motion, which babies use with breast and bottle feeding.  Toddler sippy-cups limit the child’s ability to develop oral motor skills and a mature swallowing pattern.  The spout on a Sippy-cup is just like the nipple on a bottle.


Side note:  In addition, sippy cups send thousands of toddlers per year to emergency rooms annually, largely due to injuries suffered after falling with the lid in their mouths.  This is a big reason why children shouldn’t walk around with the cup in their mouths.


For more information about why sippy cups are not beneficial to your child check Parent’s Magazine and Asha websites.


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Once your child turns 1, or sooner if you think they are ready, introduce a cup with a straw.  Using a straw will help your child move the mouth and tongue in motions that develop oral motor skills.  These skills aid in speech and sound development.  The tongue and cheek muscles now have a daily opportunity to move in different directions.  This movement helps strengthen the facial muscles and therefore helps encourage language.



Alternatives to sippy cups: Introducing a Straw to your Toddler


At first, you want the straw to be easy.  If your child does not have success,  they will fight you and resist the straw.  I recommend, when it’s your child’s first time, use the Take and Toss cups because it’s very easy to get liquid out.  As your teaching your child to use a straw, it has to be as easy as possible so your baby can learn the motion.  If it is to difficult at the beginning your child will struggle and then give up.  That’s when you will have a fight on your hands.  They need to have success. 


By no means are these cups spill proof, far from it, but they are super easy to use.  Once your child is able to use the straw you can then move to a cup that closes securely. Once my child was able to drink from a straw we switched to Nuby Easy Grip Cups.  These cups are easy to hold for little hands.


TipWe cut the valve out of the straw part.  This allows the liquid to flow easier.  It may cause some spilling, but it’s ok.  The valve does not allow your child to sip.  It’s basically a bottle in a new shape.  The only way a child can get liquid from a cup with a valve is by sucking.  They are then making the same motion that they were with a bottle. This is why using a baby sippy cup is not beneficial to your child. 





Be sure to print out 15 Toddler Smoothie Recipes to help your Toddler drink from a straw or a cup.





Using a straw


Once your child is comfortable with drinking from the straw you can buy cups that they like.  To make drinking from a cup more fun get cups with characters they love.  TV’s Toy Box will personalize items.  Here is a really cute Curious George cup with a straw. 


I introduced a straw at 10 months for my kids.  I wanted to start the process so that by their first birthdays they would be done with the bottle completely.  Introduction to the straw is a slow and gradual process.  Going cold turkey with children does not work. At first, I used a straw for one feeding each day.  If your child doesn’t drink their normal amount during this feeding, that’s ok.   Every day at that same feeding I would use a straw instead of a bottle.  Then, once he was comfortable with drinking from the straw, we moved to two feedings a day with a straw.  You continue to gradually increase using the straw until all feedings and anytime they drink is using a straw. 


Remember that consistency is key.  Once you start with a straw don’t give up and go back to a bottle.  Keep moving forward.  


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I know that using a sippy-cup is easier for us parents and the child.  It takes a little more work but you can go from a bottle right to a straw.  If you stick with it and are consistent your child will learn quickly.  This is key, being consistent. Children are masters at waiting you out.  They will use your inconsistency to get what they want.  Start with one feeding a day with a straw.  You can do it!  Your child can do it!


I bet you never knew all the benefits of a straw!



No more sippy cups. Use a straw




For more information on Toddler Development, language guides, picky eating and all things Toddler be sure to look at the Toddler Enrichment Ebook. End your online search for toddler information and daily activities. 

Written by a Special Education Teacher.


Toddler Enrichment Ebook. Help your child learn while maintaining your sanity.




What to Remember when choosing a Cup for your Toddler


  • Choose training cups carefully
  • Use training cups temporarily
  • You want one with no valve (on the nuby cups I cut out the valve)
  • No spout top
  • Easy to hold
  • Once your child can sip you can move to a regular cup
  • You want your child’s mouth to sip and not making sucking motions



Problems when using a toddler sippy cup


  • A toddler is still making a sucking motion.
  • They prevent the tongue from moving up, actually keeping it down.
  • Baby sippy cups limit the child’s ability to develop oral motor skills.
  • A sippy cup prevents a mature swallowing pattern to develop.
  • Can result in tooth decay when used for too long.
  • Babies are not as hungry to eat when drinking all day.


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Reasons why you should not use a Toddler Sippy Cup


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Be sure to print out 15 Toddler Smoothie Recipes to help your Toddler drink from a straw or a cup.



This is the 360 cup.  The top seals to the cup without any values, spouts or parts.  It allows your child to learn to drink from a cup.  It gaps open when your child starts to drink.  This cup is supported by dentists.  It encourages normal muscle development in children.



No idea how to entertain your toddler? Looking for things to do at home?  Get dozens of fun learning activities for your toddler here. Toddler Enrichment Ebook. End your online search for toddler information and daily activities.

Toddler Enrichment Ebook. Help your child learn while maintaining your sanity.




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PS.  When deciding to use a sippy cup or not think about the amount of time it’s being used as well.  Sippy cups usually become something that children walk around with and have more frequently than just meal times.  This is where problems occur.


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A boy drinking milk from a regular cup. Reasons why your toddler should not use a sippy cup


  1. As someone with disabled children, using a straw was always easier!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Never thought of this! Thanks for the info!!

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Yes, straws are much better for children than sippy cups. Sippy cups don’t help with oral movement and language development.

  3. You’ve got some good points! My kids always took to straw cups easier anyway.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read No More Sippy Cups. Many people don’t realize that sippy cups don’t have the mouth move in another way. Think when you exercise you do different movements to build different muscles. It’s the same thing with your mouth. By moving your mouth in other ways helps to build the face muscles and help with language.

  4. Jennifer says:

    My son is three and still uses the sippy cup. I’ve tried straws. The only time he will use them is when we’re out at a restaurant. So far he hasn’t had any issues with speech so I’m happy about that. I will probably buy that Curious George cup and try again. He LOVES Curious George so much that it just might work.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      It’s much harder to make the transition to using a straw once children have started using a sippy cup. They get used to the sippy cup. You can do 1 time a day to ONLY use a straw. If you son drinks less at that time its ok. A straw they have to work for it a bit more. Try a Curious George cup. You can buy it right from that link to help you. It does help when it’s a character they like. Also, try the Take and Toss cups because they are very easy for the liquid to come out. Just keep trying. Be consistent is key. Good luck.

  5. Sarah says:

    I love this post!! I introduced regular “grown up” cups to my kids as soon as they began sitting at the table with us. We had quite a few spills but all 3 of them caught on so quickly. I never liked sippy cups!

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      That’s wonderful to hear Sarah. Toddler sippy cups are truly a waste. I think it’s terrific that you taught your kids to use cups early on. As you mentioned, yes there will be spills, but that’s ok. I used a straw right away and cup shortly after. We continue to use both. My son loves when we go to a restaurant and he gets the kid cups with a straw. He’s so excited. He feels like a big boy like his brother.

  6. Joanna Melia says:

    That’s really interesting. I’m just trying to get my little one to use a sippy cup because she won’t take milk from a bottle but she isn’t keen on cup either

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      I understand that Joanna. Maybe have her go to the store with you to pick out a cup she likes. Even the dollar store has character cups. Those are regular cups not with a cover or straw. Look at the site I mentioned to get one personalized or with her favorite characters. That can help. Be consistent. Just pick 1x during the day where it’s a straw cup or regular cup and not a toddler sippy cup. Stick to it. We also taught my son to do cheers with his new cup. He loved that idea. He would do cheers to everyone in the room. Also, if she has family, cousins or friends let her see them using a cup. Try these things with her. Write soon and let me know how it’s going. Good luck! It will happen.

  7. I always preferred the regular cups instead of sippy cups. Aside from the things you mentioned, some kids tend to keep them in their mouths (like a bottle) which can do so much damage to their growing teeth!

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      This is so true. Children become attached to a toddler sippy cup more than a regular cup. It’s the best for them. Children also like to lay down with a toddler sippy cup (like a bottle which leaves milk sitting on their teeth. That’s wonderful that you used a cup for your children. Good for you! Makes me happy to hear.

  8. This was very interesting. My son is 12 now so obviously, there is no need for a sippy cup. I didn’t know this information back then and he used the sippy cup for a while. I bet I would’ve changed my actions if I knew this.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      It was not spoken about much years ago. Alternatives to sippy cups was not something people knew. I hope this helps get the word out and have people talk about alternatives to sippy cups.

  9. wow. Wish I’d read this when my kids were little, had no idea. What a great article. I wonder why this information isn’t more readily available? Always thought the sippy was the way to go.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Yes, unfortunately, alternatives to sippy cups aren’t always discussed. It’s sad. Parents just assume it’s the next step because that’s what everyone does. Toddler sippy cups don’t benefit your child at all. I hope this article helps those with young children. So many parents have trouble getting their child to get rid of the sippy cup as well. It’s better to completely avoid toddler sippy cups. Share this with anybody you know that has toddlers.

  10. Shawna says:

    This made me feel great as a Mom since we sort of skipped the sippy cup stage unintentionally. Our son just turned 2 and uses the 360° cups like you suggested and I’m currently trying to wean him off those. Well, more so wean his Dad off the habit of giving them to him because he drinks out of regular cups with or without a straw just fine. We did intentionally skip baby food and allowed him to self wean and that went very well.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      That makes me happy to hear that you skipped a traditional sippy cup for your son. Many people don’t do that. Toddler sippy cups with a spout don’t help your child in any way. Yes, if your son can use a regular cup and a straw you no longer need the 360 cups. Just get rid of 1 every few days so they are no longer in the house. They weren’t around with my first son. With my second I went right to a straw from a bottle.

  11. Jennifer says:

    This was very informative, thank you! My son just turned 1 so I read this post at the right time!

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      That is the perfect time to read about toddler sippy cups. Be consistent and just start with 1x a day using a straw or regular cup. I’m so glad you read this and found it to be helpful.

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