Product Type: Vital Baby kids equipment
Newest Review: ... Tommee Tippee first cups which provide a similar free flowing spout but this Vital Baby cup seems to allow even more liquid through, ... more
A Toddler Training Trio
Vital Baby 3 Stage Trainer Cup
Member Name: jo1976
Vital Baby 3 Stage Trainer Cup
Date: 21/08/12, updated on 16/12/13 (228 review reads)
Advantages: Versatile system including three types of lid,
Disadvantages: First stage lid has too fast a flow, final rim is not an essential item
I was fortunate enough to find these on Amazon on offer for just £2.99, which seemed like excellent value at the time for a cup containing three different lids, each designed to manage the transition towards independent drinking. As it happened, I actually received a twinpack of cups for the price I paid which was a pleasant surprise and made the set seem a real bargain. I must admit, the fact that I paid so little for two of these training sets does make me far more inclined to be positive about them. Had I paid the full RRP of £3.99 for each set, I would feel far less inclined to be so positive as the reality is that there is only really one lid out of the set of three that has proven to be really useful and innovative. That lid alone is, however, a good enough reason to buy this set.
The first stage of this three step system is a standard sippy style lid with a soft spout. This first lid is actually identical to that provided with Vital Baby's tumbler and also includes a removable valve to give the cup the option of being used as either a non-spill or a free flow cup. As with the tumbler design, my son really struggled to use this successfully with the valve in place as it seems to involve a certain sucking technique to actually get any liquid out at all. I'm not sure whether it made any difference that my son was purely breast fed and had never used any types of bottles or teats before trying this cup but the non spill method was not a success for us.
Luckily, the rubbery valve can be removed very easily and this transforms instantly into a free flowing cup. I did find the flow from this spout to be too generous which is probably because the soft rubbery spout has three quite large holes. I've previously used the popular Tommee Tippee first cups which provide a similar free flowing spout but this Vital Baby cup seems to allow even more liquid through, probably due to the additional hole. One advantage that this version does have over the Tommee Tippee cup, however, is that the spout is much softer, making it more comfortable for younger babies, in particular. I found that liquid came out of these holes incredibly quickly, although the fact that this trainer cup has two slim angled handles on either side did help my son to learn to manage the flow much easier than he could with the handleless tumbler design.
The second stage is a rather strange looking lid, which is essentially a flat lid with a raised rim and no spout at all. Instead, the lid has two small gaps at one edge next to a slight lip. This lid is designed to encourage toddlers to learn how to sip from a rim, rather than suck as they would from a spout. When tilted slightly, the liquid slowly starts to escape through the two holes and starts to pool on the top of the lid. I introduced this lid to my youngest son when he was around eighteen months old, telling him that this was a 'big boy's cup.' My toddler absolutely loved this new development and began to refuse all other styles of cup, demanding his 'big boy' instead! He very quickly grasped that the liquid would start to come out whenever he tilted the cup and was able to drink the contents quite easily without being overpowered by the flow.
One major advantage to this style of cup over a simple open cup is that the contents don't immediately pour out if the cup is tipped up too far or knocked over. It is, however, quite easy to make a mess with this cup and it often involves a complete change of clothes for my son. Although the liquid filters through the two holes fairly slowly and evenly, it will cause spillages if tipped or held upside down for longer periods. My little one is also irritatingly fond of tipping the cup and shaking its contents over his dinner so I no longer use this type of lid at meal times, just to make life slightly easier! The other obvious drawback to this stage is that it doesn't include any cover at all so this lid is not suitable for travel or use outside of the home.
The third and final stage is intended to be the last step before drinking completely from a lidless cup. This 'lid' is actually just a raised plastic rim which simply twists on to the edge of the same cup, leaving the main body of the cup completely open. In all honesty, I don't really see much benefit in this rim at all as it doesn't help to reduce the flow or limit spillages or accidents at all. I don't really see why this rim is any better than simply moving straight on to a small lidless beaker, particularly as the capacity of this cup is pretty generous, making spills all the more inevitable (and messier!) Needless to say, I only used this rim the once and, after changing my son's entire outfit and mopping the kitchen floor, I haven't bothered with it since!
The cup itself is a high quality product and, as you'd expect, is dishwasher safe , BPA free and suitable for all forms of sterilisation and available in a range of bright colours to suit both sexes. Ours has been used on a regular basis for a year or son and is showing no sign of discolouration or any other deterioration, despite regular cleaning in a dishwasher. This set is described as being suitable for babies from nine months old upwards although I see no reason why this shouldn't be used sooner, particularly as the first lid is the same as that used in baby's first tumbler, aimed at babies from six months.
Despite my ambivalence towards the third and final stages of this set, I do feel that it is a worthy contender in a parent's weaning kit purely for the second lid which is a concept that I haven't come across elsewhere. This lid allows an increasingly independent toddler the opportunity to drink from a rim, without quite as many spills and tears as a completely lidless cup produces. I would recommend shopping around for a decent price, considering that one or maybe two of the stages may not be effectively used, but I still think this offers a level of versatility that other styles of drinking cup don't provide.
Summary: Worth buying for the sipper lid alone
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