wellnessClean Eating

The best drinks for babies

drinks for babies! Do you know how much fluids your little one needs to drink daily? The answer can be found in this guide, which will also help you learn about the advantages and disadvantages of giving milk, juice, water and other drinks for babies that your child might like. Also, discover the amount of water that food contains.

As parents, we get excited when our baby begins his complementary feeding (like any other achievement that is achieved in the different stages). As soon as the child begins to try new things, many doubts arise. What liquid foods can a six-month-old baby eat?  How to make that introduction of new foods? How to offer them? This time, we are going to focus on fluids, so necessary for good hydration. 

Recommended daily consumption of water and milk for babies and toddlers
 6-12 months12-24 months2-5 years
Water4-8 oz / day
0.5-1 cup / day
8-32 oz / day1-4 cups / day8-40 oz / day1-5 cups / day
Milk*None16-24 oz / day2-3 cups / day16-20 oz / day2-2.5 cups / day
drinks for babies

The best drinks for babies

drinks for babies
drinks for babies

Many mothers worry about how to feed their baby, but others get carried away more by what the neighbor, friend or grandmother says (I hope it is not your case) and they give their baby foods that are ‘not recommended’ by the different academies of nutrition or pediatric societies. 

And, although it may be incredible to read and, especially to understand, I have come to see in my practice cases in which they offer a 6-month-old baby (in this post I am going to refer to babies from 6 to 12 months of age). age) malt aromatic waters, tea, strains, natural and/or processed juices, sugary drinks for babies and even chocolate, without knowing the damage that any of them can cause to the child’s health.

Therefore, I want to tell you (based on scientific support) what fluids your baby (6 to 12 months) can receive. 

Read also: The best kids lunch box ideas

For babies from 0 to 6 months

Recommended drinks

Babies younger than six months only need breast milk or baby formula to get enough fluids and proper nutrition.

drinks for babies to avoid

Babies under six months should not drink :

  • Juices
  • Pasteurized milk
  • Flavored milks (for example: chocolate and strawberry)
  • “Transition” or “continuation” formulas.
  • Plant milks (for example: almond, rice, oatmeal)
  • Caffeinated drinks (for example: soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks)
  • Low calorie drinks (for example: “light” or diet drinks, including those sweetened with stevia, sucralose, or any low calorie sweetener)
  • Sugary drinks for babies (for example: soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored waters, sugary coffee and teas)

For babies 6 to 12 months

Recommended drinks

Babies 6 to 12 months should continue to be fed breast milk or infant formula to meet most of their nutritional needs. Both also provide the amount of necessary fluids that babies need at this stage.

Once complementary feeding has been started, which sounds like starting at six months of age, they can begin offering small sips of water during meals . This will help children begin to develop drinking skills from a glass and become familiar with the taste of water, which can take time.

drinks for babies to avoid

Babies six to twelve months of age should not drink :

  • Juices
  • Pasteurized milk
  • Flavored milk (for example chocolate and strawberry)
  • “Transition” or “continuation” formulas.
  • Plant milk (for example almond, rice, oatmeal)
  • Caffeinated drinks (for example soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks)
  • Low-calorie drinks (for example: “light” or diet drinks, including those sweetened with stevia, sucralose, or any low-calorie sweetener )
  • Sugary drinks (for example soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored waters, sugary coffee and teas)

These beverages can be great sources of added sugar in children’s diets and do not provide any nutritional value beyond what a balanced diet accompanied by milk and water can provide.

In addition, avoiding these types of drinks for babies from an early age will help you create and maintain healthy habits throughout your life.

For children from 12 to 24 months (1 to 2 years)

drinks for babies
drinks for babies

Recommended drinks

The two drinks for babies that children between one and two years of age should consume should be:

  • Water

Children 12-24 months should drink one to four cups of water a day to get enough fluids for their age. The water you need can vary from day to day, depending on how active you are, the weather, or the amount of fluids you get from other beverages like milk or from foods like soups and applesauce.

  • Milk

Children 12-24 months can start drinking plain, pasteurized whole milk as it provides nutrients like protein, calcium, and vitamin D that their growing bodies need. The recommended amount of milk for this age is two to three cups a day .

The number of cups of milk a one year old needs will depend on how many solids he eats each day. As you approach two years of age and when you begin to consume more food, you will need less milk.

If there is a history of obesity or heart disease in the family, low-fat milk may be considered instead of whole milk, but you should consult your pediatrician in advance .

Limited or measured drinks

  • 100% natural fruit juices

Children 12-24 months should drink no more than half a cup of 100% fruit juice a day. Adding water to 100% fruit juice can make a little juice very useful.

If possible, children should consume the recommended daily amount of fruit (about a cup for children 1 to 3 years old, and a cup and a half for children 4 to 5 years old) when consuming fresh, canned fruit or frozen, with no added sugars, instead of juicing.

If this is not possible, then a combination of whole fruit and 100% natural fruit juice is accepted , as long as the child does not consume more than the limit of half a cup of juice per day.

The reason for this is because juices, even those that are 100% fresh fruit, can contribute to cavities, and if children consume more than recommended, it can have other negative impacts on their health, such as weight gain. .

drinks for babies to avoid

Children 12-24 months should not drink :

  • Flavored milks (for example: chocolate and strawberry)
  • Transition, growth or continuation formulas .
  • Plant milks (for example: almond, rice, oatmeal)
  • Caffeinated drinks (for example: soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks)
  • Low calorie drinks (for example: “light” or diet drinks, including those sweetened with stevia, sucralose, or any low calorie sweetener)
  • Sugary drinks (for example: soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored waters, sugary coffee and teas)

Plant milks are not recommended as a substitute for pasteurized whole milk. According to scientific evidence, with the exception of fortified soy milk, many plant-based milks lack essential nutrients found in cow’s milk. Even if these nutrients are added to plant milks, the body does not absorb them in the same way as it does with regular milk.

Fortified and unsweetened non-dairy milks may be a good choice for children if they are allergic to dairy or have lactose intolerance. Be sure to check with a pediatrician first before choosing a substitute for pasteurized whole milk . It is extremely important that at this stage children receive in their daily diet the necessary nutrients found in milk, such as protein, calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for healthy development and growth.

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For children from 2 to 3 years

drinks for babies
drinks for babies

Recommended drinks

The two drinks for babies that children from two to three years should consume should be:

  • Water

Children 2 to 3 years old should drink one to four cups of water a day to get enough fluids for their age. The water you need can vary from day to day, depending on how active you are, the weather, or the amount of fluids you get from other beverages like milk or from foods like soups and applesauce.

  • Milk

Children 2 to 3 years old can start unflavored pasteurized whole milk, fat-free pasteurized milk, or low-fat milk . The recommended amount of milk for this age is a maximum of two cups a day .

Transitioning to low-fat milks will help children stay within the total daily fat and calorie recommendations, which promote a healthy weight. In case the child is underweight or other medical needs, you should consult with the pediatrician to choose the best drinks for babies for your child.

Limited or measured drinks

  • 100% natural fruit juices

The recommendations for children 2 to 3 years are the same as for children 12 to 24 months: no more than half a cup of 100% fruit juice per day . It is still preferable to consume the recommended daily amount of fruit in fresh, canned or frozen fruit, instead of juices.

If this is not possible, a combination of whole fruit and 100% natural fruit juice is acceptable, as long as the child does not consume beyond the limit of half a cup of juice per day.

Drinks to avoid

Children 2 to 3 years old should not drink :

  • Flavored milks (for example: chocolate and strawberry)
  • “Transition” or “continuation” formulas.
  • Plant milks (for example: almond, rice, oatmeal)
  • Caffeinated drinks (for example: soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks)
  • Low calorie drinks (for example: “light” or diet drinks, including those sweetened with stevia, sucralose, or any low calorie sweetener)
  • Sugary drinks (for example: soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored waters, sugary coffee and teas)

The recommendations for plant-based milks are the same as for children 12-24 months of age.

For children from 4 to 5 years

drinks for babies
drinks for babies

Recommended drinks

The two drinks that children four to five years old should consume should be:

  • Water

Children 4-5 years old should drink one and a half to five cups of water a day . The water you need can vary from day to day, depending on how active you are, the weather, or the amount of fluids you get from other beverages like milk or from foods like soups and applesauce.

  • Milk

Children 4-5 years old should drink plain, pasteurized whole milk, fat-free pasteurized milk, or low-fat milk . The recommended amount of milk for this age is a maximum of two and a half cups a day .

Limited or measured drinks

  • 100% natural fruit juices

Children 4 to 5 years old should drink one -half to three-quarters of a cup of 100% fruit juice a day . It is still preferable to consume the recommended daily amount of fruit in fresh, canned or frozen fruit, instead of juices.

If this is not possible, a combination of whole fruit and 100% fruit juice is acceptable, as long as the child does not consume more than the three-quarters cup of juice per day limit.

Drinks to avoid

Children 4-5 years old should not drink :

  • Flavored milk (for example chocolate and strawberry)
  • “Transition” or “continuation” formulas.
  • Plant milk (for example almond, rice, oatmeal)
  • Caffeinated drinks (for example soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks )
  • Low-calorie drinks (for example “light” or diet drinks, including those sweetened with stevia, sucralose, or any low-calorie sweetener)
  • Sugary drinks (for example soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored waters, sugary coffee and teas)

The recommendations for plant-based milks are the same as for children 2 to 3 years of age.

Here are the reasons why most of these drinks should be avoided,

drinks for babies
drinks for babies
  • 100% fruit juice: It has a very sweet taste and is free of fiber, an important nutrient found in the whole fruit. Once children have been exposed to juice, it can be very difficult to limit portions or get them to prefer plain water. In some cases when the whole fruit is missing, give your child a small amount of 100% fruit juice (no more than 4 ounces a day for children ages 2 to 3, and no more than 4 to 6 ounces for children ages 2 to 3). 4 to 5 years) may give you some nutritional benefit. However, babies under 1-year-old should not drink the juice. Eating fruit is always preferable to drinking juice.
  • Flavored milk. Chocolate, strawberry, and other flavored milk contain added sugar.  Children under the age of 2 should avoid consuming added sugar. Children 2 to 5 years old should also avoid flavored milk to decrease added sugar intake and prevent the development of a preference for sweet flavors. Developing an early preference for flavored milk may make it difficult for a child to accept plain milk.  
  •  Plant-based milk . For some children, an allergy to dairy products or intolerance to milk may make it difficult to consume cow’s milk. However, keep in mind that most plant-based milk do not contain the nutritional equivalent of cow’s milk and may be lacking in important nutrients, such as protein, vitamin D, and calcium. With the exception of soy milk, plant-based milk is not recommended for consumption by children in place of cow’s milk. Soy milk has the nutritional equivalent of cow’s milk and is an acceptable alternative.     
  • Stevia, or artificially sweetened beverages. The health risks of stevia or artificial sweeteners in children have not yet been fully studied. For this reason, the best thing to do is to avoid sweetened beverages, even if they are calorie-free. When children already have a clear preference for sweet drinks, it can make them dislike or refuse plain water.
  • Milk for young children. Infant milk, which is often marketed by companies as “transition” milk to breast milk or formula, is not necessary and can be harmful to young children. These products contain added sugar and can fill a child’s stomach so that the child does not feel hungry or crave for healthier foods.
  • Sugary drinks. Sugary drinks such as sodas (soft drinks), sports drinks, fruit juices, lemonade, sweetened waters or any other drink that contains added sugar can be harmful to the health of the child. They increase the risk of excess weight, dental cavities, heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.      
  • Caffeinated drinks. The caffeine in young children increases the risk of trouble sleeping, irritability, nervousness, headaches and difficulty concentrating. The best thing to do is to avoid all beverages that contain caffeine.

How much do children have to drink daily?

On average, children ages 12 to 36 months need to drink about 5½ cups (44 ounces or 1.3 liters) of fluids each day. This amount is taken as a base and varies according to the size of your child, his level of physical activity and the outside temperature.

If that’s too much for you, don’t worry because your child is most likely already taking the amount we mentioned above. This is how the total number of cups is normally divided:

  • 2 to 3 cups of cow’s milk or one of its equivalents: Children under 2 years old need 2 to 3 cups a day, and those over 2 years old need 2 cups.
  • 1 to 2 ½ cups of other drinks: These could be other liquids that your child likes besides milk, such as water or juice.
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups of liquids from food: Surprisingly, foods like fruit, yogurt and rice contain plenty of water, and if your child consumes them, you can add them to the recommended total of liquids.

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drinks for babies

Anna

Anna is a registered dietitian with a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in general nutrition. she is started as a nutritionist clerk in 2017 and moved to buzzrecipes in 2018. she is now manages author communications, topic selection, and medical review of all nutrition content.

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