Considering what kind of sippy cup to buy for your baby? Many parents begin to transition their baby to a sippy cup between the ages of 6-12 months and continue to use them well into the toddler years. With a product seeing that much daily use – it’s important to pick non-toxic cups that don’t pose health risks to your developing little one. A silicone sippy cup is a great option, and there are some other non-toxic options as well.
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Why Choose a Plastic-Free Sippy Cup?
As you may have heard, the chemicals in plastic can leach into our food and drinks. In recent years, more and more concerned parents have been sounding the alarm on toxic components of plastic baby gear such as BPA and phthalates. While BPA has gotten the most attention, and many manufacturers have made steps to remove it from their products altogether, plastics still leech many other toxic chemicals. (My article about BPA dives into BPA alternatives too.)
The market has responded, and there are many safer alternatives to plastic sippy cups available today. Some of the most popular plastic-free materials for sippy cups are silicone, stainless steel, bamboo, and even glass.
The Best Plastic-Free & Silicone Sippy Cups
Pura Kiki makes their cups from just stainless steel and medical-grade silicone, so there is NO plastic and nothing that can leech into your baby’s system – ever!
Like a kid’s version of your YETI tumbler, the Pura Kiki stainless steel sippy cup will keep hot beverages hot and cool beverages cool.
It comes in 6 different fun colors and includes a travel cover to prevent spills from the silicone spout. Best of all, when your tot is ready to transition, you can simply switch out the top for the next stage. The full line includes bottle nipples, straw tops, and a sports bottle cap.
Pura Kiki’s sippy cups are super easy to clean and well worth the investment since they grow with your child.
That being said, they’re not entirely leak-proof. They’ll hold water in pretty well if your child accidentally knocks it over, but they’re not meant to be shaken upside down (which many a toddler will do!).
We are absolutely obsessed with Silikids silicone cups at our house! We have a set of eight, and they are used on a daily basis. They’re so versatile!
This silicone sippy cup is 100% European-grade silicone, and it’s hard-sided (a lot like plastic). The top of the cup has a stainless steel ring (which is hidden under a layer of silicone). This ring keeps the cup sturdy but still easy to grip.
Silikids has multiple tops that you can purchase to use with the cup, one of which is a silicone sippy cup lid. The tops are also made from 100% silicone, and they have a soft spout.
This is one of the easiest sippy cups to clean too. It doesn’t have any cracks or crevices for mold to hide, and neither does its lid. You can throw it in the dishwasher or boil it to sterilize.
We use these cups for drinks (without lids, with lids, and with GoSili’s straws) and snacks too!
Though it’s not 100% plastic-free, I had to include this cup on our list because it’s so convenient and virtually leak-proof.
The stainless steel Miracle 360 sippy cup can be purchased with or without handles for babies and toddlers of all ages, and with the 360 design, your child can sip from anywhere along the rim – just like a “real” cup!
The insulated stainless steel cups keep drinks cold for up to 15 hours, and the whole cup can go in the dishwasher. It also comes with an additional lid to slip over the top, which is perfect to prevent spills in the diaper bag.
(And speaking of diaper bags, you may want to check out our favorite non-toxic diapers while you’re here too!)
This was our favorite cup when my youngest was a baby. The special leakproof membranes prevent spills and allows kids better control over how much liquid they draw out.
The handles on each side make it super easy for a toddler to hold onto, and it’s incredibly easy to clean with very few hidden areas for mold to collect.
While it’s not 100% leak-proof (we did have a few spills when my daughter decided to throw her cup on the floor), it does a pretty good job of keeping the liquid in most of the time.
We love the bright colors too! It comes in blue, green, pink, orange, and red.
This soft-spout trainer cup comes in 4 bright colors that kids will love. Like most of the other products on our list, they are made from just silicone and stainless steel and are 100% plastic free and dishwasher safe.
What makes this cup unique is the lifetime guarantee of FREE lid replacements.
The really cool thing about these silicone zippy cup lids? You can take them on and off, and they’ll fit on almost any other cup too.
MYINNI has also designed the cup in such a way that there are no places for mold and other funk to hide.
Eco Matters unique sippy cups are made from biodegradable natural bamboo fibers and are both dishwasher AND microwave safe.
As the only hard spout option on our list, this cup solves the issue of finding a plastic-free hard spout cup.
The set comes with 4 cups and 1 sippy cup lid, and more lids can be purchased separately. And when your kiddo is ready to try sipping from an open cup, these cups are just the right size for little hands.
An entire matching product line of bamboo dinnerware is also available. Minimalist moms rejoice!
Think your little one is ready to try drinking from a straw? This set comes with 2 stainless steel tumblers, 2 BPA-free lids and 2 food-grade silicone straws.
There are several fun colors to choose from and the manufacturer has included a lifetime guarantee!
The insulated body keeps drinks cold, and a larger 12oz size is also available for bigger kids.
Reviewers found these cups to be relatively leak-proof (for a straw cup), easy to clean, and very durable.
Does Your Baby Really Need a Sippy Cup?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends transitioning to a sippy cup around the age of 6 months, when your child is able to sit unassisted and is likely starting to eat solid foods.
Some of the benefits of sippy cups are to help your child eventually wean from the bottle or breast, begin to drink other types of fluids like water, and give your little one some independence at feeding time.
Drawbacks include the potential for dental issues (such as crooked teeth or cavities), the tendency for kids to become reliant on them for an extended period of time, and the inconvenience of washing parts and cleaning up spills.
For these reasons, some parents choose to skip the sippy cups altogether and begin teaching their toddlers how to use an open cup – even from a young age.
If you do decide to go for a sippy cup, make sure you use them as a temporary transition between the bottle and a “big kid” cup and limit how much your child uses them each day.
It’s never a good idea to simply give your child unlimited access to a sippy cup at all hours of the day. And if your child is going to be drinking juice or other sugary drinks from a sippy cup, be sure to brush their teeth immediately afterwards to prevent cavities and decay.
Types of Sippy Cups
Soft Spout Sippy Cups
Cups with soft spouts are better suited for younger babies and toddlers since older toddlers can bite through the silicone spout. They are also a more familiar option for babies who are used to a bottle and just getting to know this new type of drinking vessel.
- Easier transition from bottle to breast
- Preferred by most kids
- Usually made from non-toxic food-grade silicone
- Comfortable to drink from
- Usually includes a travel cap or cover
- Teething babies can easily cut holes in the spout
Hard Spout Sippy Cups
Older babies and toddlers are more likely to be ready for a hard spout sippy cup. Some parents prefer hard spout sippy cups since they can last longer than silicone spouts and are easier to keep clean.
- More durable than silicone spouts
- Easier to clean
- Typically made from plastic
- Sucking on an unnatural hard plastic spout can affect healthy dental development and is generally not recommended by dentists.
Flat Top Sippy Cups
These cups (also known as 360 cups) offer a unique design that allows your child to sip from anywhere around the rim of the cup. They are spout-less and so help kids get used to drinking from a open cup without the spills.
- Recommended by dentists as the healthiest option for kids
- Helps your child transition to drinking from an open cup
- Can take some time to get used to
Straw Sippy Cups
The final stage in toddler sippy cups is usually a straw cup. Although not ideal for travel, straw cups are great for mealtimes once your child is old enough to keep their sippy cup on the table.
- Helps kids get used to drinking from a “big kid cup”
- Spills are more likely
- Some kids may bite the straw
- Straws give parents another part to clean and keep track of
- Not ideal for travel
Silicone Sippy Cups
Silicone components like lids, spouts and straws are typically used with a stainless steel cup body. A silicone sleeve may also be used in conjunction with a glass cup or bottle for extra protection.
- Silicone used in sippy cups is usually food-grade and completely non-toxic
- Silicone parts are easy to clean
- Kids can chew through silicone straws and spouts
Stainless Steel Sippy Cups
Stainless steel sippy cups are somewhat of the gold standard of plastic-free sippy cups. Most plastic-free cups on the market are made from stainless steel (and for good reason). Stainless steel has many pros as you’ll see below:
- Keeps beverages cold for much longer than other materials
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Very durable and long-lasting
- Can be heavy for younger babies and toddlers
- Potential for a metallic taste
- Could heat up in the sun
Glass Sippy Cups
Although some parent’s automatic reaction to a glass bottle or sippy cup may be shock and alarm, glass products are becoming more common as manufacturers find innovative new ways to prevent breaks and spills. (The glass cups from Silikids are protected with silicone). There are also many benefits to using glass sippy cups such as:
- Glass naturally resists mold and does not absorb odors
- Extremely easy to clean
- Can usually be boiled to sanitize
- Long-lasting and durable
- Although typically made from thick glass and/or protected by a silicone sleeve, glass cups can still break
- Can be heavier than other sippy cups
Getting a plastic-free or silicone sippy cup is safer for your little ones, and it will likely be more durable and last a lot longer.
Many of the products on the list above also feature interchangeable lids to upgrade your child’s cup to the next stage.
But no matter which sippy cup you choose, the peace of mind in purchasing a non-toxic sippy cup is well worth the price tag.