Moms and dads make decisions on what to give their children to drink every day of their lives. While the decision to allow your children to drink whatever they ask for is solely up to you, there are some no-no’s and some recommendations when it comes to what you allow your children to drink. In the interest of their health and their dental health, it is highly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that you adhere to some simple rules when it comes to what your children drink.
Birth to 6 Months
At this time in your child’s life, what he or she drinks is crucial to his or her health and development. At this age, babies should only drink breast milk or formula. If you give your child formula, it is imperative that you never use well water in your child’s bottle. This could cause health issues in your child.
When your child turns one, you may give him milk. From ages 1 to 2, however, you should provide your child with whole milk. Once your child turns two, however, change that for 1 percent milk. The ideal amount of milk from children one and up is 16-24 ounces per day. This is what doctors recommend for a healthy baby.
Water, provided it is not well water, is always a healthy choice for your child (thank goodness, because my five-year-old only drinks water. It’s all she wants except for a cup of white milk in the mornings when she wakes up and eats breakfast – she won’t even drink chocolate milk.)Pediatricians recommend you start your child on water at six months of age and encourage your child to continue to make water his or her choice of beverage.
Juice and Soda
While it’s okay to provide your child with juice provided he or she is over the age of two, it’s only recommended you read labels to find 100% fruit juice and limit your child’s intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day. If your child is anything like mine, they like the occasional glass of juice but it gives them an upset stomach. For this, the simple solution is to fill a cup 95% full of water and add 5% real fruit juice to just give it a little taste of juice without giving your child much juice at all.
Soda, tea and other beverages of this nature are never recommended for children. In fact, soda is not even recommended for adults. It’s too sugary and unhealthy (and nothing makes me cringe faster than seeing a small child with a soda or a fast food cup of tea or sweet drinks…except a waitress or acquaintance that offers my children a sprite or other type of soda to drink before we hurriedly say NO WAY.). There’s no reason any child – or adult – should indulge in soda. Stick to water. It’s healthy.