As Max started eating more table food and drinking less formula, it was time to begin the transition to sippy cups. Some of my earlier purchases included: Pura Kiki Stainless Sippy Bottle Stainless Steel, Thermos FOOGO Phases Straw Bottle, NUK Large Learner Cup, and Tommee Tippee Explora Sippy Cup.
Finding the right sippy cup for your baby takes A LOT of trial and error. Do not buy more than one until you know which one your baby will actually use. It wasn’t an easy process for Max. At one point, I was worried he would never become a self-sufficient drinker.
I started off with the Pura Kiki Stainless Sippy Bottle because I absolutely loved that it was made entirely of stainless steel and silicone. However, as with many things in motherhood, just because you like it, doesn’t mean your baby will. Ha!
The main issues with the non-straw sippy cups I tried were all pretty much the same: 1) Max didn’t understand that in order for liquid to come out of the cup, he had to tilt his head back and hold the cup upside down and 2) the spouts (because they are designed to prevent leaking) are SO hard to extract any liquid from. Like, I tried sucking on it as hard as I could and got frustrated by the tiny trickle that came out.
The Lollaland Lollacup ($16.00; Made in the USA; BPA and phthalate free) is stinkin’ cute! I’m a total sucker for the adorable design. Is it a chicken? I’m not sure, but either way, I love it! Anyway, the Lollacup comes in six bold colors (including black, which is awesome, because why can’t kids use black too?) and holds up to 10 oz. of liquid.
The sippy cup also comes with large detachable handles that uses a twist-to-lock mechanism on the bottom of the cup. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the detachable handles because if there’s one thing I can guarantee, it’s that this sippy cup will become a flying projectile at some point, and when it lands, the handles will come off. And, although the large handles make it easy for baby to grip, it also results in an exceptionally bulky item. I mean, this thing is not going to go into any cup holder that you have, or even gracefully into the diaper bag.
Zo-li Bot Straw Sippy Cup
The Zo-li Bot Straw Sippy Cup ($12.00; Made in Taiwan; BPA, phthalate, nitrosamine and PVC free) comes in two size options (6 oz. and 9 oz.) and five different colors (purple for the win since it’s Max’s current favorite color). The design is definitely more utilitarian. Even though it isn’t nearly as cute as the Lollacup, I prefer the Zoli Bot’s design for ease of use. The handles are attached to the lid and significantly smaller. Nevertheless, Max is easily able to use the handles to hold the sippy cup. I mean, he has toddler hands! He doesn’t need gigantic handles. And because the Zoli Bot has a smaller footprint (I have the 6 oz. size), I am able to fit the sippy cup into the diaper bag and stroller cup holder.
The Lollacup has an opaque silicone straw that has a wider opening and separates from the weight for cleaning. The material is soft but thick and a lot sturdier. The weighted straw ensures that the sippy cup can be tilted in any direction and Max can still drink from it. However, because the straw is thicker and stiffer, he can’t drink from it while lying down. Another issue is that even though I’ve only given Max water from the Lollacup, the tip of the straw is already discolored after a couple of weeks of use. It’s not a big deal, but I don’t understand the cause of the discoloration.
The Zoli Bot’s straw is translucent and also made of a type of silicone. The straw itself is a lot slimmer and the material is thinner and more flexible. We don’t drink smoothies at home, but if we did, the Zoli Bot’s straw probably wouldn’t be able to accommodate any thick drinks. Another issue I have with the straw is that it is very stretchy. That means, when I am trying to unsnap the straw from the lid, I must have a really good grip on the base, otherwise the straw will pull and elongate to the point where I am concerned it will break. The plus side to the super flexible straw is that Max is able to drink from the sippy cup even when it is upside down. I also like that the material is clear so I am able to see whether or not Max is actually sucking up fluids in the straw.
The Lollacup’s main drawback is that it leaks when the lid is open. I know this sounds silly. Of course a straw cup will leak if it is thrown around or held upside down. The problem is, try explaining that to a one year old. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prevent Max from swinging the Lollacup around, causing water to spill everywhere. On the other hand, when the lid is closed, it is leak proof.
The Zoli Bot has a straw with a cross hatch opening which helps to prevent any liquid from spilling when the sippy cup is being flung around. And, despite the closed end, because the straw is made of soft silicone, it is still very easy to suck liquid out of. However, the biggest pitfall to the Zoli Bot is also that it leaks. But in a completely different manner. I can’t quite explain it, but there is some sort of vacuum/suction effect that causes liquid to squirt out of the straw when closing the lid. If there is liquid trapped in the straw, the action of bending it (as when you close the lid) will not only cause the liquid to shoot out, but also suck up more liquid from behind as well. I still give the Zoli Bot the slightest edge and the only reason why is because it doesn’t leak when Max is swinging it around – only when I need to close the lid (meh).
EASE OF CLEANING
The Lollacup is very easy to clean. The opening is large and the straw separates into two pieces – the silicone straw and the weight. Lollacup also provides a tiny flexible straw cleaner to help clean the straw.
The Zoli Bot is a little bit more difficult to clean. The cup itself is smaller and since the straw is thinner and does not detach from the weight, it is harder to clean inside the straw. You can always buy a Zoli Bot Straw and Cleaner Replacement Kit separately.
The Lollacup is $4.00 more expensive than the Zoli Bot. But, let’s be real, if you’re already spending $12.00 on a sippy cup, the few extra dollars isn’t going to be the deal breaker here.
Both sippy cups have their strengths and weaknesses. Neither is perfect. But, overall, I prefer the Zo-li Bot Straw Sippy Cup. The Zoli Bot is more portable and I don’t have to chase after Max, cleaning up his spills (since most leakage is actually caused by me, go figure). So far, Max has only been drinking water so any leaks/spills he does have aren’t a big deal. I will be transitioning him away from drinking milk from bottles in the near future and that will be the true test of the sippy cups. If any of you dear readers feel that you have found a better sippy cup, I am open to suggestions!
UPDATE 12/30/14: I am sorry, but I cannot recommend either sippy cup when it comes to milk. It’s one thing for water to leak out (who really cares, right?), but milk is a whole ‘nother matter. And the Zo-li Bot leaks in such a way that I just cannot understand. For crying out loud, it leaks when upright!!! I thought there might be some trick to it: specific temperature, perfect seal, juuuust the right amount of twist. But, no. All is futile. Do not attempt.
Please note that this only applies to milk. Max loves drinking from the Zo-li Bot and it is still my go-to for water.
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