Quite often as parents we worry about how much fluid our babies drink especially in hot weather.
If you are breast feeding your baby, they will be getting all the fluids they need as breast milk is food and drink rolled into one!
If you are bottle feeding you may need to give your baby extra fluids as bottle fed babies can sometimes become constipated. Use cooled boiled water. Never add sugar to the water as this can have the opposite effect and may lead your baby to have diarrhoea. If used frequently it can also cause tooth decay and your baby may develop a liking for sweetened drinks.
There are numerous baby juices available in the supermarkets, all claiming to be vital to health and very misleading. The truth is the only drinks which are healthy for teeth are milk and water. The vast majority of baby drinks contain sugar and acid. Even the herbal juices are harmful to teeth. On average 125ml of made up baby juice contains 4 teaspoons of sugar!
Look at the list below and see how much sugar is in the average 125ml of drink.
- Blackcurrant cordial 6 teaspoons
- Apple juice 5 teaspoons
- Apple and rosehip 5 teaspoons
- Orange and camomile 5 teaspoons
- Pear and peach 4 teaspoons
- Apple and blackcurrant 4 teaspoons
- Apple and orange 3 teaspoons
- Summer fruit 2 teaspoons
- Drinking chocolate 2 teaspoons
Never give anything other than milk or water in a baby's feeding bottle.
Introduce a free flowing feeding cup to your child from around the age of 4 months. It may take several attempts for your baby to master the art of drinking from a cup as it will feel totally different to a teat or a nipple, but persevere.
If you do give juice to your baby, always use a free flowing cup and only give at meal times. This will help to reduce the risk of bottle caries which is a condition where the upper front teeth decay as a result of constantly being in contact with sugary drinks. Never let your baby fall to sleep drinking juice!
Try to avoid “No spill” cups as these encourage frequent use and can also have a negative impact on your baby's speech development due to the intense sucking action and the position of the tongue needed to open the valve inside which releases the fluid.