The Sippy Cup Wars

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oh, the battles you have to fight with toddlers. They are over the dumbest things.

Nora was the type of baby that would take any bottle. Any pacifier. As long as it was a means to nourishment and/or comfort, she was game. She had a laidback personality, it seemed.

But then she became a toddler. I've told you before my stance on toddler mood swings. They ain't pretty.


We went through a time around Nora's first birthday when she suddenly gave up the bottle. She wouldn't drink from one anymore, but she also wouldn't drink from a sippy cup. She would nurse for a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes at night, but that was it. I still don't know why she did that--self-weaning, teething pain--who knows. But when we finally did get her on a sippy cup, there was only one kind that she liked. These ones:

They were only the second sippy cups we tried, they worked well, they were easy for her to use by herself--so they were winners. DONE. We went out and bought several more. No complaints from us.

Eight months later, though, and Nora has a lot of teeth. The spout on these cups is not what I would have considered "soft" compared to others (in other words, it's nothing like a bottle nipple), but come to find out... it can definitely be chewed up. And Nora was starting to purposely chew them. Once I realized that they were, in fact, sort of soft-spouted, I knew that we would have to make a transition to a hard-spout cup. I wanted to make a good choice for the next sippy cup because ideally, we would transition her just this one more time before she'll eventually drink from a normal cup. It needed to be something that could grow with her a little more.

I had seen a number of people recommend these Nalgene Grip 'n' Gulp cups, so I started to look into them.

Then, one of our friends happened to mention that her nearly 4-year-old son uses the Nalgene cups and that they love them, so I was sold. We ended up finding them in the water bottle/outdoors section at Target for cheaper than they are online, by the way. Still a pricey sippy cup at $7.99, but they are virtually indestructible. We had Nora "pick one out," and we came home to give it a try.


Nora wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, every time we'd bring it near her, she'd push it away, and if we tried to set it on her high chair tray, she'd throw it off. Unfortunately for her, we're not ones to give up easily, so we made the decision to go cold turkey. She wasn't going to get her old sippy cups back, no matter how difficult she tried to be about it. Because the thing about her stubbornness?

She gets it from me. I can play at this game.

I remembered back to August/September when she was refusing the bottle and sippy cup, and I recalled our pediatrician telling me that Nora would absolutely NOT dehydrate herself in order to prove a point. At that time, the doctor maintained that Nora was getting enough liquids to keep at least partially hydrated through her foods.

Over the course of the next week, we had limited success with the new sippy cup. Sometimes she would take it (briefly), other times she wouldn't. Sometimes, I practically had to force it on her for her to see that it was actually water (or milk) in there, and then once she realized, she would drink. But then at the next meal, we'd be struggling all over again.

During our weekend in the Poconos, she was especially difficult about it, and I have to admit--even I was growing tired of it. Michael and I talked at length about it. We wanted to put an end to the wars, but we weren't willing to go back to the old sippy cups in order to do so. We figured that we just hadn't found the right sippy cup for Nora.

Then, on Memorial Day, we were at a restaurant and Nora showed special interest in my straw. When I was done with my cup, I filled it with water and presented it to Nora. Wouldn't you know it--she gulped down the entire cup through the straw. That was it: A STRAW! I thought we had finally cracked the code, so we stopped on the way home to pick up a straw sippy cup.

As soon we got this thing home and out of the package, I discovered that it was not what I had expected. The "straw" on the top of the cup is SUPER SOFT--much like a bottle nipple, in fact. You can suck the liquid out as if it's a straw (because there's a straw that goes down inside), but the "feeling" of it is nothing like a straw. I don't know what possessed me to try this with Nora, for we could've just taken it back to get our money back, but alas, we tried it. And it was an even bigger failure than the Nalgene cup.

I did everything I could to get her to drink from this thing, but she wanted nothing to do with the top of it. If I removed the top and separated the hard straw from the top and let her simply sip the water through the hard straw, she was completely happy. But since this clearly had to be done with my assistance each time... no. It wasn't going to work.

We weren't ready to give up on the straw, so back to Target we went to get what I had been picturing all along. We came home with these guys:

We had high hopes for these ones, but unfortunately, we were met with limited success. We gave these ones a few days, too, sending Nora to daycare with them. Apparently she drank out of them a bit there, but I don't think I ever saw her take sips from them.

To top it all off, these are THE BIGGEST PIECE OF CRAP CUPS EVER. They leak all over the place, and for no reason. As I mentioned, Nora doesn't drink out of these. She won't. So all we've ever done is to put liquid in these and then let them sit there in case she'll actually take it. While they're sitting there, liquid inexplicably gets drawn up into the straw, which continues to happen until eventually the liquid is spilling out of the straw uncontrollably.

PIECES OF CRAP, I tell you. $7.50 for a two-pack of crap. Playtex has a "leak-proof, satisfaction guarantee" so I'm currently trying to get our money back, but since we didn't save our Target receipt OR the packaging (since I had to shred it just to get the cups out) I don't know if that'll happen.

So you might wonder where this left us.

Well, here's the thing: Once we had other "options" for sippy cups in the house, we started to try to give Nora choices with them. We'd fill up a piece-of-crap straw cup, and we'd fill up her Nalgene cup, and then we'd let her choose. At first, it didn't go so well--she pushed them BOTH away--but then, one morning, she just started (mostly) tolerating the Nalgene cup.

Now, we're in a (pretty) good place with it. The Nalgene cup, that is. For the past few days, she's taken it without (much) issue, and has drunk plenty from it throughout each day. I think we're actually getting places. We're contemplating buying a couple more of them so we have a few in rotation but I'm still a little afraid of jinxing it. :)

One comment that I have about the Nalgene cup is that with the leak-proof "stopper" inside, it is IMPOSSIBLE to drink from. I could barely extract liquid from it (and yes, I did open up the bottom of the stopper), so how the heck do they expect toddlers to do that? The only way Nora has been drinking out of it is with the stopper removed, so if she tips it, it leaks all over the place, of course. But that doesn't really bother us that much since she only drinks water when she's away from the table, and thankfully, she doesn't tip it over much anyways. It works for us, but it sure as hell wouldn't for some other people.

And in case you're wondering... we spent $10 on alternate sippy cups that our kid refused to take, only to end up right back where we started with the Nalgene cup. Who's laughing now?

It's been an interesting few weeks.

Has anyone else engaged in "sippy cup wars" with their kids? Who "won"? How did it play out? How much money were you forced to spend on cups before it all came to a close? I don't know how you felt at the end of it, but GOSH I'm tired.


nikinikinine June 4, 2012 at 9:39 PM  

we use three sippies in this house - the nuk soft spout (both the learner cup and the active cup), the munchkin straw sippies and take n' toss cups with bendy straws. We buy the bendy straws separately and cut them to size. The T&T cups leak, but are great for the diaper bag/outside when you don't care if a cup gets lost/destroyed, etc. because they are super cheap to buy.

My kids drink interchangeably from all three, but lately love open cups which are a complete mess, as you can imagine :)

Heather June 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM  

You are so lucky, Niki! I wish Nora took cups interchangeably, I was hoping that she would if we presented her with different ones, but once again she has gravitated toward a favorite. That's a good idea with the take & toss cups with the bendy straws, though--are you talking just normal bendy (disposable?) straws? I bet Nora would like that, actually. They wouldn't be good for daycare, but they would be good for home.

Amy June 4, 2012 at 9:49 PM  

been there, we have a drawer full of cups--she will still only take milk from her bottles that I used a transition lid to--avent convertors. She likes the straw cups. And we have had a lot of luck with the playtex ones you don't like. She likes anything with a straw. But I remember the initial battles all too well.

Heather June 4, 2012 at 9:51 PM  

Amy, I remember you saying before that you've had a particularly rough time with Elle. So you like the Playtex straw ones, huh? Do yours leak ridiculously, too, or are mine just an anomaly? I WANTED to like them, but when they leak all over the refrigerator or countertop just from sitting there, we've got problems. :)

Sandy June 4, 2012 at 10:11 PM  

We are starting with a straw cup...we have the platex ones but ours has little handles...she is almost 7 months so I'm just starting out and don't have any advice but hope you find something soon.

We just ordered the Lollacup (saw it on Shark Tank)'s pricey but so cute...looks like a toy so kids like it. I've heard good things about the Zoli cup too...both have a weighted straw so the straw follows the liquid.

Tara Walencik June 4, 2012 at 10:34 PM  

Kira was particularly picky, it put me in the hole $70type of picky. We used almost every cup we could find unsuccessfully. She'd only drink from them if she was very thirsty otherwise they'd end up on the floor; a few times she actually threw then in the trash can! We finally ended up on the Gerber graduates nuk cups. They have different stages which we've followed & Kira has taken to successfully; we're just about to transition to their stage 4.

These toddler wars are absolutely crazy but I never give in lol good luck!

Sandy June 5, 2012 at 12:19 AM  

Also wanted to mention another sippy cup - my friends have a 3.5 yo and 2 yo twins and they drink from the baby camelback...maybe try that? Must be so frustrating throwing $$$ away on the ones that don't work. Crossin my fingers you find something soon!

Heather,  June 5, 2012 at 1:07 AM  

For the past week my son has refused to drink anything unless it is from a spoon. Yes, a spoon! I'm worried about him getting dehydrated since it is so hot where we live. He went almost two full days without drinking anything before I relented, mostly because he got a flu bug. But right now we are practicing with cups. He likes them okay when they are empty. And we're using a medicine spoon, since it has the motion of an adult cup. But I think it's getting time for some tough love. I miss the days my boy used to suck down 5 Nuby bottles of water.

Rachel June 5, 2012 at 8:24 AM  

We just fought the same battle! We finally found a type that works for Connor - here is a link to them at Target:

elizabethashleyphoto June 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM  

I have no sippy cup advice, but I did want to mention that if you paid with a credit/debit card at Target, they can look up your receipt without you needing the paper copy. If not, you can probably just get store credit. Target is pretty good about that.

I hope things get better in the sippy cup wars!

mashley June 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM  

These are the ones my son used. At first he wasnt overly impressed. But there is a little button that makes the lid pop up and the straw come out. so we called it the popping cup and he LOVES them. They are easy to clean too!

Sarah Bryant June 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM  

We LOVE the straw cups by Munchkin. They have a lid that closes and whwn it is shut, it is completely leak proof. We just toss them in the diaper bag and have never had a leak. My 17 month old hates all playtex sippy cups and only likes the steaw ones. We.trjed the soft strawed one too buf its ki.d of hard to get liquid out.

bertha potato June 6, 2012 at 9:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth June 6, 2012 at 9:15 PM  

My nephew does not have a favourite sippy cup. He has a different favourite every day, and it is apparently my sister's job to read his mind each day and 'know' which cup to give him.

The resulting tantrum when she guesses wrong is very hugely out of proportion to the actual problem. If I hadn't watched the whole episode, and just walked in on the hysterical, gut wrenching tears, I'd have wondered what she had done to hurt him.

Sippy Cup Wars , they can be EPIC.

Vanessa June 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM  

I obviously have no experience of this but it sounds horrific! For now I am continuing to harbour illusions that the baby in my belly will continue to be as calm as she seems to be now. Yep, you can call me deluded! ;)

Tricia June 29, 2012 at 3:31 PM  

Oh do I ever hear you on this. My boys wanted NOTHING to do with the zippy cups.

It was a wild west standoff. "Listen lady, you forced us to actually work and drink from a bottle and now you want to Take. That. Away. Nosir." (

We bought one of each. Our doctor finally said, "Thirst is a powerful driver."

Of course now we're moving on to "big boy" cups. Which is really just a euphemism for pour the contents out over brother's head.

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