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After my niece outgrew her first cup, we decided it was time she leveled up to the Munchkin Click Cup Trainer, also called 8oz Click LockTM Trainer Cup or the Munchkin Mighty Grip Trainer Cup 6 Months Plus.
Munchkin, Inc. are a Californian based company that, according to its website, owns over 100 patents and has over 40 additional patents pending. The company has won over 30 US industry awards, including the coveted Target® Corporation Partner Award of Excellence. Endorsed and recommended by lactation consultants, medical professionals, toy specialists and parents, Munchkin products can be found in more than 25,000 retail outlets internationally. While they may not be a well-known childcare name like Tommee Tippee, taking a brief glance at their website, I recognise several of their products from nursery and playgroup so it seems they are a popular brand.
Munchkin's Click Lock cup is certified BPA free and recommended for 6 months and above. The previous cup my niece had was a free-flow cup in-line with baby-led weaning protocol. The idea is that it doesn't confuse an infant by encouraging them to suck (as they did with a bottle or a breast) but instead develops hand-eye coordination and independence by teaching them to control the flow of their own cup and only drink as much as they need. As such, perhaps it could be seen as a step backwards for us to use the Munchkin Click Lock cup. The munchkin cup has a valve in the spout which means my niece does have to suck to get water out of it. So why did we choose to use it?
First of all, the major downside to a free-flow cup is that the contents of the cup, whether it be water, milk, or juice, get everywhere. Maybe this isn't applicable to every infant out there, but my niece is extremely playful and as such was using her Tommee Tippee as a super soaker rather than a drinking vessel. However, props to Mr. Tippee, he did teach her how to drink, and she can now happily drink from open cups and even glasses as long as someone else holds them. The Click Lock cup, then, is purely for our own convenience. The opening and closing seal, as the name suggests, it clicks into place ensuring a leak-proof drinking experience. The valve system is made of soft silicon, as is the spout, and to drink all my niece has to do is tip the cup up and suck. When there is no suction, the cup doesn't leak. Genius.
Secondly, my niece doesn't drink very much. She finds plain water very boring, and while her mum does let us give her diluted juice once in a while, she doesn't want us to make a habit of it. Who knew parenting would be so much trouble? The cup holds 8 oz or 227 mls of whatever you put in it. I would not recommend milk, as it would get caught in the valve and go sour. To wash, take the cup apart and rinse thoroughly. It is not advisable to sterilise it or put it in the microwave.
This cup is really bright and colourful. Ours has a blue body and a yellow spout with pink handles and valve. As soon as my niece was given it she was playing and drinking with it as if it was a toy. She would walk around the living room just drinking merrily away. The cup also comes in 3 other colours: pink-yellow-green and green-orange-blue.
The design of the cup is very sturdy. It has been dropped several times and never leaked or dented. The spout is also soft - Tommee Tippee was hard plastic - so my niece can bite or chew it as the urge takes her. The handles are large, much larger than her previous cup, which is easy for her to carry but made screwing and unscrewing the top a bit of a hassle, but only until I got used to it. The large handles also make it much more difficult to fit it in her baby bag, so I just keep it in my pocket when we go out. The cup has a ribbed body and textured handles to make it easier to hold.
The body of the cup is curvy, pinched in the middle in what I can only assume is an organic cut-off point for filling up the cup. That's what I use it for, anyway. The transparent plastic makes it easy to see how much water is left or how much my niece has drunk. I have to say, though she was really taken with it the first few times she used it, it has now been relegated to the everyday and she isn't as keen to drink from it. Not to say she doesn't like it, just that she doesn't love it as much as she first did. She still uses it, but - of course - still prefers drinking from everyone else's glasses. As this proves she hasn't lost the ability to drink free-flow style, I can thoroughly recommend the Munchkin Click Lock cup even though we used it non-chronologically.
Now for the downsides. For a cup guaranteed leak-proof, splash-proof and dribble-proof, my niece has found a way to make it do all those things... She is clever, like her aunt. To make it leak she pinches the soft silicon spout several times in succession and a tiny bit of water comes out. She's thrilled, of course. I bet the designers wouldn't be, but I don't hold it against them.
Finally, my dad (my niece's granddad) bought this from Home Bargains for the extremely reasonable price of £2.50. On Amazon at time of writing, it is available for £2.99, so do shop around.
For a fun, leak-proof cup, you can't really get better value and design than the Munchkin Click Cup Trainer. For more information, visit the manufacturer's page: http://www.munchkin.eu.com/products/cups/8oz-click-lock-trainer-cup.html