Sippy Cups vs. Straw Cups for your Toddlers: Which is Better?

Toddler drinking from a straw cup

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Which is better for your toddlers: Sippy cups or straw cups? That’s a question that many parents face, and there is no easy answer. Some people prefer sippy cups because they think they are less messy, while others prefer straw cups because they think their toddlers can drink more easily from them

Let’s go over both kinds of cups and compare the pros and cons together so that you can make an informed decision.

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Sippy cup pros

Sippy cups are easier to clean than straw cups

When it comes to children’s cups, both straw cups and sippy cups can be difficult to clean. However, sippy cups tend to be easier to clean than straw cups.

Straws can be difficult to reach, and they often get moldy if they are not cleaned properly. Sippy cup lids, on the other hand, can be easily removed and washed.

In addition, sippy cups are often dishwasher safe, while straw cups are not. As a result, sippy cups tend to be the more convenient option for busy parents.

Sippy cup cons

Sippy cups can spill if not handled correctly

If not handled correctly, sippy cups can easily spill, creating a mess for both the child and the parent. There are a few things that parents can do to help prevent spills.

First, it is important to make sure that the cup is properly sealed. The lid should fit snugly on the cup, and there should not be any gaps between the lid and the cup. Second, it is important to teach children how to hold the cup correctly. They should grip the cup with their entire hand, not just their fingers.

Sippy cups might negatively affect your child’s dentition or muscle development with consistent use

Parents often turn to sippy cups as a way to help their child transition from bottle to cup. However, they may not be aware of the potential dental risks associated with these cups. When used consistently, some sippy cups can cause your child’s teeth to become misaligned or for non-ideal muscle development to take place.

They can also lead to an increase in cavities and other dental problems. The best way to avoid these problems is to ensure that your child only uses a sippy cup for a short period of time or only every now and then. Here’s a video explaining why a popular sippy cup (Munchkin 360) might not be the best for muscle development.

@learntotalkwithme Reply to @k.a.t.18 A few thoughts on the 360 cup (and other similar cups). Don’t love it but don’t totally hate it. Better options are out there! #babycups #toddlercups #babyactivities #feedinglittles #nospillcups #strawcups #toddlermealideas #blw #babyledweaningideas #parentingtips #learntotalkbook ♬ original sound – Stephanie Cohen

All this to say that we haven’t widely studied how prevalent the effect of sippy cups can be on a child’s muscle development and how far into the future it will actually affect them. Using a sippy cup with your child some days is unlikely to cause a major issue.

Once your child is able to drink from a regular cup or straw cup without spillage, you can confidently ditch the sippy cup for good if you’d like to. Or consider switching to straw cups and open cups right away, but expect a transition period where you’ll get some spilling.

Straw cup pros

Straw cups allow toddlers to drink more easily

For parents of young children, straw cups can be a godsend. Unlike traditional sippy cups, straw cups allow toddlers to drink more easily and with less spillage.

The straw is positioned in the center of the cup, making it easy for little ones to tilt the cup and take a sip. In addition, the straw is long enough that kids can reach it even when the cup is tilted at an angle.

And because the straw is removable, parents can easily clean it and put it back in place. As a result, straw cups are a convenient and practical choice for parents who want their kids to have an easy time drinking.

Drinking out of a straw is also an important life skill for a child to develop, so it’s never really too early to start assuming we’re talking about a toddler and not an infant.

Straw cups don’t normally affect a child’s dentition

For many years, parents have been warned that letting their children drink from straw cups will damage their teeth. The theory is that the constant sucking motion will cause the front teeth to become misaligned.

However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, straw cups are actually beneficial for dental health. Drinking from a straw helps to reduce the risk of cavities by increasing the flow of saliva.

Saliva is nature’s way of protecting teeth from harmful bacteria. In addition, straw cups can help to prevent tooth decay by keeping sugary drinks off of the teeth. As a result, parents can rest assured that straw cups are not damaging to their child’s dentition.

Sippy cups can also cause issues with speech. Here’s a video from a feeding therapist, Laney SLP, IBCLC, talking about why straw cups and open cups are a bit better overall for toddlers.

@thenestingco I recommend introducing straw and open cups before sippy cups and if you use a sippy cup, try to also mix in straw and open cups as well 👍🏻⭐️the alternative cups I recommend are linked in my Amazon storefront (see my bio) #sippycups #opencups #strawcups #strawdrinking #childdevelopment #feedingtherapy #speechtherapy #infantfeeding #toddlerfeeding ♬ original sound – Laney SLP, IBCLC

Straw cups are better for giving your kids smoothies – that can be difficult with sippy cups

Smoothies are a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients, and they can be easily customized to each child’s taste. However, making a smoothie can be messy, and it can be difficult for kids to use a sippy cup to drink a thick beverage like a smoothie.

A straw cup is a perfect solution. The wide opening allows for easy filling, and the straw makes it easy for kids to drink every last drop. If your kids are smoothie drinkers or you want to get more fruits and veggies into their diet, grab some straw cups.

Straw cup cons

Straw cups can be more difficult to clean than sippy cups

Most parents are familiar with the challenges of cleaning a sippy cup. The small spouts and internal valves can be difficult to reach, and it’s often impossible to get all the pieces completely dry.

As a result, many parents opt for straw cups, which are generally easier to clean.

However, straw cups can also present some challenges. The straws themselves can be difficult to clean, and if they are not properly dried, they can become moldy.

In addition, the lids on straw cups can also be difficult to clean, as they often have several small parts that can be easily lost. As a result, parents need to be vigilant in cleaning both types of cups. This is a potential con of straw cups when compared to sippy cups, though with the help of a straw cleaning brush, cleaning your kids’ straw cups becomes much easier.

Straw cups can cause more spills than some sippy cups that have a tighter seal

It can seem like no matter what you do, there’s always a spill somewhere. And it’s not just water that can end up on the floor – juice, milk, and even soda can all end up making a mess if your child isn’t careful.

Straw cups can actually cause more spills than some sippy cups that have a tighter seal. That’s because the straw can move around inside the cup, which makes it more likely to come out and cause a leak. Sippy cups with tighter seals, like the Munchkin 360 line, help to keep your floors a little cleaner.

Straw cups or sippy cups: Which is better for toddlers?

The answer to this question depends on your individual child and their needs. Some toddlers will take to a sippy cup more easily, while others will prefer a straw cup.

There’s a risk of issues with your child’s dentition if you stick with sippy cups most of the time, which is a major fact I’d like to highlight. That being said, having your kids use sippy cups sometimes probably isn’t much of an issue.

I’m opting to give my kids straw cups most of the time but to use sippy cups when they need a drink while on the couch or in the car. My kids are still pretty little, so they need the extra spill protection, but I don’t want to over-use sippy cups with them since there are potential dental issues that come from using sippy cups all the time.

Thoughts? Comments? I’m open to it all in the comments. What are your thoughts about sippy cups vs. straw cups?

Related reading: 3 Best Leak-Proof Cups for Toddlers



Hey! I'm a freelance writer and a mom of three. I've been blogging for over 10 years now and def I write posts here about working from home as a parent, mindful parenting, and tips for how to develop a more sustainable home.

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