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Attempting to find a training cup suitable for use for my 13 month old son has been somewhat challenging over the past few months with early attempts to get him used to holding his own beaker and drinking from it proving to be near on impossible. I've tried him with cups with handles, beakers with protruding mouth pieces in an assortment of shapes and colours but rarely with any success with my son preferring the teat of a bottle to drink from. In the past few weeks though he seems to have had a revelation, mainly due to now not wanting formula milk any more and therefore not needing to use his bottles he' decided that he will drink from a beaker after all and whilst not perfect by any stretch of the imagination his current beaker of choice is this one from Tommee Tippee, the 'Tip it Up Sportster' Suitable for children of 12 months + in age this simply designed beaker is easy to hold and drink from. It's made from plastic, has a removable cap which has a protruding wide-headed soft 'straw' and whilst quite large in size isn't particularly heavy. It's easy to clean, the lid screws tightly into place and though promoted as an 'non-spill' beaker accidents and small spillages can occur if your child gets too boisterous with it, though this isn't a complaint as such as I've yet to find any sort of cup or beaker that doesn't leak given half the chance. The Tip up Cup is available in a number of different colours and costs around about a fiver depending on where it's bought and I purchased mine instore in Tesco when it was available at half price so paid just over £2.50 for it. In use my son finds it easy to hold and his little hands easily fit round the 'waist' of the bottle, the wide headed straw section is made from a soft plastic so doesn't seem to cause him any discomfort when he's sucking from it and he can quite easily move it up to his mouth and drink without problems. He is quite a playful little chap though and loves to play with the beaker by jiggling it up and down, because it's translucent and you can see the liquid inside he likes the sound it makes when it swishes around the beaker so tends to want to play with it rather than drinking from it. This can make it a rather messy experience for him as he'll not only jiggle it from side to side but also likes to turn things upside down to investigate them, so although the straw has a piece of plastic (presumably the equivalent of a safety valve) that is supposed to cover the opening when it's not in use it doesn't stop water/juice/liquid from escaping. Clearly it's not a toy and isn't meant to be 'played' with as such but in my mind it's progress for my son to now be accustomed to drinking from a beaker rather than relying on his bottles as he once was so he's slowly realising that the beaker is there for him to drink from rather than play with and I'm sure in time he'll understand this a bit better. For what it is I do like the Tip it Up Cup, I think it's been well made by Tommee Tippee and has a good shape that makes it easy for little hands to hold. It does come supplied with a transparent plastic cover but mine mysteriously vanished a few weeks ago and the 12 month plus Sportster variation holds 450ml of liquid which makes it ideal for ensuring your child gets plenty to drink during the day. It's BPA free according to the TT website and separate lids can be bought in different designs and colours should you fancy a change or you need a replacement. Whilst it may be 'non spill' accidents can happen if the cup is played with a little too vigorously but overall I think it's well worth the money and my son seems very happy with his. Available from the majority of places that sells baby-ware this gets the thumbs up from me and a very good 4 star rating here, thanks for reading my review.
As my youngest son gets older, I still find myself searching for that elusive product - the perfect drink container that is easy for him to drink from, portable and leakproof, whilst also meeting his need for increasing independence. He is perfectly capable of drinking from an open cup but he has an annoying tendency of tipping the contents all over his plate, happily turning every meal into soup! I've used Tommee Tippee products for several years and have, for the most part, been impressed with the quality and durability of their range. That is why I picked up a couple of Tommee Tippee's 'Sportster' drinking bottles, part of their ever-evolving range of baby and toddler products. I purchased them from Sainsbury's during one of their fairly frequent baby promotions but the standard price is £3.99 per bottle, which seems a little on the expensive side compared to similar bottles on the market. This 'Sportster' design is quite a large capacity bottle, holding an impressive 450ml of liquid, designed for children from 12 months upwards. I'd actually recommend this for slightly older toddlers as the bottle is pretty large and Tommee Tippee offer similar products that would be slightly more practical for younger toddlers, to avoid wastage. My youngest son is two years old and this bottle comfortably holds enough water (or juice) to last throughout a day's outing, although I do tend to freshen it up during the day to avoid the drink acquiring an unpleasant plasticy taste. The design of these bottles is fairly eye-catching, coming in a range of bright colours including some neutral shades as well as the more gender-specific pink and blue shades. Ours are a cheery orange shade with a contrasting red outer ring. Despite being quite a large bottle, it has been cleverly shaped to ensure that small hands can hold this securely. The middle of the bottle is tapered and their are ridged sections around the central section which help to make the surface non-slip, even when carried about by sticky toddler hands. The bottle itself is pretty strong, with only a slight give to the surface, helping it to avoid any cracks or damage if dropped or thrown. Despite its size, the lightweight plastic means that it isn't too heavy for little ones to carry independently but it does take up quite a lot of room in my changing bag. Crucially, the design of these bottles and the silicone 'straw' section, makes them incredibly easy for my son to drink from without creating too much mess. Only a slight pressure from the mouth or teeth is needed to open the small slit which then releases the liquid. This design is very similar to the smaller 'Active Bottles' that I've previously used and is a system that my son is able to use comfortably without needing to suck excessively. Unlike the smaller bottles, the drinking section is slightly longer and thinner, designed to resemble a soft straw as part of a transition to the more rigid style of straw generally offered by older children's drinking bottles. The benefit of this design is that it is slightly more difficult for a toddler's chunky figures to poke down the drinking hole and release drink everywhere or risk damaging the fairly fragile silicone material, which my son managed to do to with the smaller bottles from the same range. To support the bottle's 'non spill' claim, these bottles come supplied with a clear lid which covers the spout completely and helps to contain any drips that the bottle may accidentally release when being carried about in a changing bag. The lid is pretty effectively and forms a secure cover, although I would prefer if the lid was actually attached to the bottle itself in some way, as I find it easy to mislay these covers, particularly as they are transparent. Without the lid, these bottles are by no means non-spill! As I'd expect from a high quality brand such as Tommee Tippee, the bottles are BPA free and suitable for use in sterilisers, microwaves and dishwashers. Due to the large size of the bottles, I was a little worried as to whether they would be too tall to fit on the top shelf in our dishwasher but they do just manage to fit in upright to ensure a thorough and hygienic clean after use. From a practical perspective, the separate components are easy to dismantle and clean separately, with the silicone 'straw' section coming away from the plastic outer ring, which screws securely on and off the main body of the bottle. Despite the ridges, the bottles have proven to be easy to keep clean and the shiny surface of the plastic seems to repel dirt and marks. Surprisingly, neither the bottles nor the teats have started to discolour despite regular use in a dishwasher. I do like this style of bottle and feel that this particular design lives up to the reputation of Tommee Tippee products. I would recommend this for older toddlers from around eighteen months old, due to the large proportions and capacity of this bottle. This is a easy to use, durable and practical drinking bottle that offers value for money, even at the full RRP of £3.99.