Your baby won?t need anything else to drink when they are being breast or bottle-fed exclusively. When they start trying out solid foods during the weaning period, you may like to introduce some drinks to your little one. It is important to choose drinks for your baby very carefully as drinks for older children and adults are often far too high in sugar and other additives, or just simply too strong for baby’s young stomach.
When can my Baby Use a Cup?
From the age of 6 months, it is recommended that you introduce your baby to using a cup. A cup with a free flow opening or an open cup helps teach your baby how to drink from a cup and help them take measured sips rather than sucking. There are literally hundreds of cups for babies on the market, but try not to be swayed by marketing ? a simple cup will do the job just as well. Never put anything other than breast milk, formula, water or milk in a training cup (designed to be sucked) or a bottle. Sweeter drinks in these types of cups can lead to tooth decay sue to the way babies suck and hold the liquid in their mouths. Other drinks should be given in a free- flow beaker or cup.
Fruit Juice – After 6 months, your baby can have fruit juice. You can buy specially prepared juice drinks for babies or dilute fruit juice with one part juice and ten parts water. Fruit juices contain naturally occurring sugars and even though these are natural, they can contribute to tooth decay. They also contain acids which are dangerous for the teeth so they should always be diluted.
Water ? Water is a good choice for babies; water for babies under six months (for making up a formula feed or if you have been recommended to give a bottle-fed baby some water in hotter weather for example) should be boiled and then cooled whereas after 6 month, you can give your baby water that has not been boiled. If you are worried about the quality of your water then you can use a water filtration system.
Cow’s milk – this is suitable after 6 months in food preparation but it is not recommended as a drink for your baby until they are at least 12 months old. This is because cow’s milk contains complex proteins and minerals that are not suitable for your baby’s kidneys. After your baby has reached 12 months, you can give them full fat cow’s milk.
Tea and coffee are not suitable for babies (neither is alcohol!), and there are other drinks that it may be best to avoid. These include sugary drinks such as squashes and some baby juice drinks. Fizzy drinks contain sugar and are acidic. Even drinks that claim to be sugar free contain sweeteners that give your baby a ‘sweet tooth? and are considered by many to be harmful. Rice drinks should be avoided by children up to five years old as they contain inorganic arsenic; this can be harmful and is not recommended.