The best kids’ beakers and cups for independent drinking

toddler using cup

by Emily Thorpe |

Transitioning your little one from a bottle to a cup can be tricky and a lot of the time, 80 per cent of what is in the cup ends up on the floor.

The NHS recommend introducing your child to drinking from a cup or beaker from around six months. Using an open cup or a free-flow cup without a valve or a straw will help your baby learn to sip rather than suck and is better for your baby’s teeth while helping with their orofacial muscles, used for speech.

Some parents prefer to move their baby onto a sippy cup before progressing to a beaker or cup while others like to skip the sippy cup completely.

If it's time for your child to make the change, make drinking more exciting with our pick of kids' beakers and cups.

When should I move my baby to a cup?

Moving your little one from a bottle to a kids' beaker can be quite fiddly and something that little ones can take to right away, or may need lots of support and encouragement.

"Babies are usually ready for a cup from around six to eight months, but some babies are not interested until they are over 12 months,’ says Fi Star-Stone, a baby expert and author of The Baby Bedtime Book. Go by your baby – every child is different.

"It’s important to move to a cup because if your little one spends all day slurping on a bottle of milk or juice, it could lead to serious tooth decay," says Fi. It also means there's less room for baby foods, which hold more nutrients.

Remember that if you serve milk from a kids' beaker or cup, all pieces need to be sterilised until your child turns one.

How can I make the transition from bottle to cup?

Many parents worry about moving their little ones from bottle to cup because they’re worried the change will mean they’ll reject the cup completely. "Often the comfort of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding can cause reluctance to accept a cup, so it's important not to make it a big deal, and just introduce the idea gently," says Fi.

Fi suggests these tips for making the move easier...

Pick the right time

Try introducing the cup at lunch and tea-time rather than breakfast when your little one is very hungry, and keep the evening milk before bed as a breast or bottle feed until they are a little older as it's more comforting than a cup.

Invest in some sippy cups

It's a good idea to shop around when it comes to buying cups as your baby may prefer some cups over others. It's a learning experience for you both. You may want to start with a slow-flowing sippy cup that limits the flow of liquid from the cup. This will make choking on fluid less likely, which is a common cause of cup rejection.

Try dipping

Dip the tip of the cup spout into your baby's breast milk or formula and then give it to your baby to try.

Show your little one the way

Children love to copy, so take a sip from the cup yourself and offer your baby one for themself. Siblings also come in handy when introducing cups - let him help by showing their younger sibling how to drink ‘like a big boy or girl’.

Try different liquids

Some babies will only take water from a cup, preferring the breast or bottle for breast milk or formula. Don't worry, this is normal, just encourage regular tries of the cup. When your baby is 12 months and over, a sippy cup is a great way of introducing cow's milk. You can warm it a little first – this often makes toddlers accept sippy cups more easily.

Moving from a sippy cup to a kids' beaker

If your child is already using a sippy cup and you'd like to move them onto a kids' beaker, start by making a big deal out of drinking from a regular cup, and how it’s for grown-ups.

Try only serving your toddler’s favourite drink in an open cup, and saving the sippy cup for water. If this happens to be juice, make sure it’s diluted. Don’t stress about the mess as accidents will happen, just (try!) encourage your toddler to help you clean up!

The best kids' beakers and cups

The 10 best sippy cups for your baby UK 2022

When can babies have water?

Drinks you can give your toddler (other than water or milk)

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us