WHAT SHOULD MY BABY DRINK?
Q:My baby is 7 months old and is really starting to enjoy her solids, and I feel quite confident about what to feed her. She seems to enjoy just about everything. What I am however very uncertain about, is drinks. Should I start to introduce water? How? And how much and when? I am still breastfeeding her, but would like to wean at about 9 months in order to start working again. Can she just have water to drink then? Or cow’s milk? Or mixed with rooibos tea? The liquids are really confusing me.
A:as soya, rice, oat or almond are not suitable for babies under one year of age as a drink.
Water is the best supplementary drink and a few sips can be offered via a bottle or cup with every meal or between meals during hotter periods. It is good practice to get your child enjoying the taste of water from an early age to avoid her preferring sugary sweet drinks when she is older. If you choose to offer unsweetened fruit juice, dilute it before giving it to her (about 10 parts water to one part juice). While fruit juices do contain some vitamins and minerals, they’re also very sugary and acidic and may cause tooth decay if given too frequently. You can offer rooibos tea without added sugar, however, avoid black tea or coffee as they contain caffeine and can reduce the amount of iron and other nutrients absorbed from food.
Avoid drinks containing added sugars, like squashes, fizzy drinks, flavoured milks and energy drinks as well as diet drinks. They can fill your baby up, reducing her intake of proper foods, and are too sugary for children, promoting a desire for sweetened drinks.
Drinks should be given from an open cup or a lidded free-flow beaker (no valve) with two handles rather than a bottle. This will help your baby learn to sip rather than suck, which is important for the development of muscles used for speech, and is better for her teeth. YB