Specifically-cups. I have so many sippy cups in my house (and bottles) that never got used! We tried them all and, between Kian and I, we became picky. We found some good ones, some great ones and some not so good ones.
I had an Avent training cup (with handles) in the cupboard and tried giving it to Kian a few times around 4-5 months old for experimenting. He couldn't get anything out of it. He chewed on the flat, thin spout. I took the valve out and then he got too much. I poked a few holes in the valve and that helped a bit, but he never liked the flat, thin spout. I put it away for when he older I thought. I'll give this one thumb up.My next purchase was the Nuby training cup. I love, love, love the Nuby training sippy cup. I started Kian on it around 4-5 months (after the Avent failure) with some water just to get used to it. It has handles and a very soft, flexible spout with interesting holes and no valve. I think the flexible part was the key. The other spouts on other cups may have been "soft" as in not hard plastic, but they weren't flexible in his mouth. It's touted as the no-spill cup. And it virtually was. He did well with it and we had no issues whatsoever with this one. Still one of my faves. I give it 2 thumbs up!
So, as he got older and really began using the sippy cup more, we branched out. I had been given some Playtex cups. I tried them around 6 months, once he had the sippy cup thing down with the Nuby cup. The valve created a problem again here. It was too hard to suck with the valve and too much liquid came out when I took the valve out. The spout here was also hard plastic, molded right onto the lid. Kian didn't care much for these cups. I give this 2 sideways thumbs, didn't like them, didn't hate them.
*Here's my developmental expertise tangent: Bottle nipples and sippy cups (especially with short, hard spouts) require that a child use the front mouth and few tongue muscles only. This is okay. But, not great for speech and language development. Cups with straws and open cups, as well as breastfeeding require a child use the jaw and tongue muscles that are further back in the cheek and mouth. This ensures more strength in the child's jaw and cheeks to have the ability for form multiple, various speech sounds. Speech therapists hate bottles on children over a year and they don't care for sippy cups either. They all have "the discussion" with parents about getting the child on at least a straw cup and working towards an open cup. Try it. You will notice if you take a drink from a sippy cup it's all front motion and straws require back movement. Okay, that's over with.
So we went back to square one. I went back to the store and bought the Nuby cup without handles, in larger sizes. I began sending these to daycare with Kian for snack time use as well as using them at home for dinner, while he was still nursing and on a bottle. They worked fine for small amounts. One issue with these is that while they are pretty spill-proof, the way the spout works there are slits in it that when the child sucks open up more to let the liquid out. Kian figured out somehow, that if he bit it a little he could get a lot of liquid to just come out without sucking. This led to pooling in his mouth and either pouring out his mouth or some choking at times. But not a bad cup overall. Another thing Kian figured out with this cup is that while it doesn't spill when you turn it upside down or throw it on the floor, it does make a great paintbrush. He will turn them upside down and drag the spout across his tray, car seat, body, clothes, table, couch, whatever, and the pressure opens the spout and it leaves pretty water paintings. So, not really a traveling cup if you're child's an artist. I give this one thumb up.In the meantime, I had some cups that resemble the old school (also contemporary) Tupperware cups we had as kids. The basic plastic cup with a pinched spout, no valve. I gave this to Kian one day and he did excellent with it. He drinks the right amount and can set it down easily because it's not bulky, it's lightweight and he likes it even without handles. These also do not spill easily. I just ordered some more (real) Tupperware cups, as they travel well too. It gives him control over how much to drink, without being too hard because there is no valve. 2 thumbs up!
Recently, we began giving Kian a straw. He's fascinated by straws and loves to make sure we all use ours at restaurants. I bought the Gerber twist straw cup, because hey it's a straw cup and it twists closed for traveling. Great idea...right? At first, yes. The straw is very soft on top so that it can be bent in the lid for traveling. Not bad. What it actually is, is a multiple piece lid. There's the lid, covered by a rotating lid that closes the straw in. Inside this lid is the soft, flexible straw on the top for drinking and storing, then inside is a hard, larger plastic straw that attaches to this soft one and sucks up the liquid. Yeah, I hate multiple piece things-more cleaning. The problem is that the hard plastic, inside straw falls out a lot. So Kian will be sucking away and then suddenly not be able to get anything because it's detached from the soft straw and is floating inside the cup. Talk about a pain. Secondly, the flexible straw on the top flings around because it is so wimpy. Opening and closing it, setting it down, it falling on the floor, any little movement and the soft straw sprays everyone in a 4 foot radius with milk droplets. Not so fun. The more we use this cup the more I dislike it. But, I will give it 1 sideways thumb for now. =)
We are sticking with the Tupperware sippies for now, but Kian does an open cup fairly well and we continue to work on that. I may look into buying a Baby Einstein straw cup. But since they are expensive I'd like to really see what they look like inside and out before buying it...any thoughts? This is where the Mom's Club huge sale will come in handy next week! yay!