Everyone with an infant or toddler knows it is difficult enough to keep your carpet and furniture clean without having to worry about a sippy cup that leaks. Grandparents may remember sippy cups being called “tommy tippy cups.” Finding a brand that works for your child can be an expensive and time consuming process. Make infant care and feeding easier by doing some research ahead of time to find out your child’s personal preferences and mix those with a cup that really works. Keep in mind during this process that no cup is completely leak-free though. You may have some issues with a small amount of liquid escaping from the sippy cup if your baby tends to suck some into the spout, but leaves some of the liquid remaining in the spout portion of the cup that is already past the valve area that secures the liquid in the cup.
Two of the major brands of sippy cups on the market today are Playtex and Gerber. For purposes of comparison, I’ve chosen two similar cups that each have some of the same features – the Playtex First Sipster Spill Proof Cup and the Gerber Fun Grips Soft Starter Spill Proof Cup.
Both the Playtex First Sipster and the Gerber Fun Grips models feature a soft tapered spout to help your child transition from the breast or bottle to the cup. Both of the sippy cups have two handles for little hands to easily grip while drinking. Both cups hold approximately the same amount of juice, milk, water, etc. – seven ounces. Each of them features interchangeable bases, lids, and valves so if you have misplaced part of the cup you can simply replace it with another one that is at hand. In terms of what kinds of liquids the cups will hold both cups say not to put soda pop or pulpy liquids like orange juice with pulp into the cup. Both brands come in a variety of bright colors and each has a licensed character line (Playtex’s First Sipster cup has a new Baby Einstein line for 2007 and Gerber’s Fun Grips cup has a Suzy Zoo line). Each of the sippy cups’ valves are relatively easy to take in and out for washing or to replace if they become worn and valves can be purchased separately from cups if one needs to be replaced that extends the life of the cups. Each brand also offers future models of similar cups for your child to grow into as they get older and drink more and have different needs.
The difference in quality between the Playtex First Sipster Spill Proof Cup and the Gerber Fun Grips Soft Starter Spill Proof Cup stems from actual leak-proof status in typical use tests. Playtex’s First Sipster Spill Proof Cup’s name really delivers – the cup is spill proof and leak proof. The valves hold tight so they do not wiggle loose. Gerber’s Fun Grips Soft Starter Spill Proof Cup does not hold up to its claims of being spill-proof. It is definitely inferior on this point to Playtex’s model. The Gerber cup’s valve has a tendency to wiggle loose over time with repeated use (long before the valve should “wear out”) and if baby swings the cup around in the air or drops the cup a lot. These are typical developmental behaviors for babies and infants so the cup should be expected to withstand normal wear and tear like Playtex’s model does. The Gerber cup also started leaking from the plastic handle part at the base and the main cup part after it was dropped several times at the height of a standard-size highchair.
Another nice feature that the Playtex cup features that is absent from the Gerber cup is the built-in notch to hold the Playtex valve on the inner part of the cup’s lid. This helps to prevent your valves from getting lost in the dishwasher and also works nicely for storage in your cupboard when the cup is not in use. Testing has found however, that some higher-powered dishwashers may knock the valve free from the cup when it is being washed defeating the purpose of the special storage notch. This is one factor you will have to try out for yourself with your own dishwasher. If your dishwasher is a person it’s not an issue!