When Junior was born, we started reading the long lists of must-haves for babies and parents. Some of them seemed essential - nappies, clothes, buggy - and others, not so much - Diaper Genie. We made it a goal not to buy more stuff than we needed, and to buy multifunctional things where possible (a cot that turns into a bed, for example).
To a large extent, we have succeeded, but S pointed out the other day that Junior's cup collection runneth over (if you'll excuse the pun). I thought I'd chronicle the evolution of his drinking equipment and skills before relegating some of the lesser-used vessels to storage.
Philips Avent bottle and trainer
Before Junior was born, I intended to try breastfeeding, but I bought some bottles to have on hand in case we needed to give him formula. I managed to breastfeed exclusively for the first five weeks; then we began supplementing with formula. Junior did not have any trouble adjusting to his bottle. In fact, he started holding it around ten weeks, and by sixteen weeks he was drinking by himself - quite a popular (and envied!) party trick among the playgroup set. I gave him the trainer attachment around six months when I was ready to move him onto sippy cups. Oddly, he didn't take to it - but he was fine with a proper sippy cup.
2. Free flow sippy cups
Tommee Tippee First Cup and First Beaker
There is some debate over the types of sippy cup: free flow or spill-proof. The received wisdom says that spill-proof cups are bad for growing teeth, but I have yet to read or hear any compelling evidence for this - please feel free to set me straight in the comments. That said, Junior seems to prefer his free flow Tommee Tippee cup with handles for water, although he will accept the beaker if it is offered. He does not like drinking milk from these, however.
3. Spill-proof sippy cups
anywayupcup Cow and Bird cups
I found out about anywayupcups from @SonyaCisco's review here: http://www.rocknrollmum.com/2012/07/moo-cool-as.html
I was still trying to introduce milk in a sippy cup, and the cow cup seemed like a good bet. I ordered one cow cup and one bird cup. Sadly, Junior never managed to drink more than a few sips of milk from the cow cup, and the only disadvantage of the cup is that it is not see-through (I had become somewhat obsessed with knowing exactly how many ml's of liquid he was taking when we introduced formula). He also prefers water in the bird cup (which is see-through). For now, I leave the cow cup in his cot with some water so that he can take a drink overnight if he needs it. He does not use it often, but knows it is there.
4. Straw cup
Nuby insulated flip it
My nephew uses straw cups, so I thought this might be a good alternative for Junior. He loves to play with it, but has not yet managed to suck hard enough to get any liquid from it. I'm putting this one in storage and waiting until he's bigger to reintroduce it.
5. 360 cup
anywayupcup 360 Junior cup
When I ordered the cow and bird cups, there was a delay in production and the bird cup did not come immediately. After a few months, I wrote to the company and asked if I could have a 360 cup instead. Junior had shown interest in drinking directly from our glasses and tea mugs, so I thought he might be ready (if young) for one of these. Like the straw cup, he loves playing with this cup, but does not manage to drink much from it yet. I'll reintroduce it in a few months when he has more control.
A last word about anywayupcup: once the bird cups were back in production, they sent me not just one, but TWO bird cups! I had already received the 360 cup as a replacement, so I was not expecting anything further. I gave one to another mummy blogger whose daughter is starting to eat solids now. I hope she likes it. Two thumbs up for anywayupcup - great customer service! Thank you again...
6. Sigg water bottle
Sigg toddler cup
Our most recent discovery has been Junior's Sigg cup. When we were in Barcelona, he preferred drinking straight from our sports-cap Evian bottles, rather than using his sippy cups. Two friends recommended trying a Sigg bottle with a toddler top - it's perfect! He will drink a whole bottle of milk from it. In fact, at seventeen months we got him off the Avent bottles completely; he now drinks water from his sippy cups, and milk from the Sigg. He loves the design and turns it around to look at each animal. I also had it engraved with his name for no extra charge (see here: engraving)
I started giving Junior cups almost one year ago, and it is interesting to see which ones have worked and which have not. He seems to understand the mechanics of drinking with no coaching, but has more success with some shapes and nozzles than others. I did not expect the Sigg cup to be such an automatic winner, but he took to it with no hesitation. I will still try the straw cup and 360 cup when I think he's ready for the next level, but I'm happy with his Sigg/sippy combination for now.
And the best news: he has stopped breastfeeding on his own! At the start, I hoped to reach one year. The first few months were long and painful, but we hit our stride around seven months. At twelve months, I started pulling back but he still relied on it, especially overnight. I never imagined I'd still be breastfeeding at seventeen months - and apparently, neither did he. We had cut back to one feed in 24 hours, then it stretched to 48 hours, and then several days passed and he has not needed a feed. He seems perfectly fine and so am I.
About the brands
I do a lot of research before buying things for Junior, partly from other mums, partly online, partly in shops. I am happy with the brands I have chosen, but I'm sure Junior would have done just as well with different ones. None of the companies I have mentioned asked for a review, but I'm happy enough with their products to promote them. Feel free to use this post for reference - I know it's hard to find good information out there! - but trust your own instincts in the end. Like all mums, I'm hardly an expert...!