Milk, water, or juice - which is the best drink for your little one?
Once your baby is eating a few solids, he or she will probably start to feel a bit thirstier, but what drinks are best to give a thirsty tot?
Plain water is really the best refreshment for your baby. If your baby is younger than 6 months, you’ll need to boil the water and cool it before use. After 6 months, tap water is fine to use.
If you have a water softener fitted at home, make sure you keep one tap separate to supply hard water for drinking. Softened water contains slightly higher levels of sodium, which makes it unsuitable for babies to drink.
Many bottled waters are not suitable for babies because of the levels of minerals they contain. If you need to give your baby bottled water, check the label to make sure the figure for sodium (which may appear as ‘Na') is no higher than 20mg (milligrams) per litre. You’ll still need to boil the water and allow it to cool before use if your baby is younger than 6 months.
From around 7 months, if your baby is eating three solid meals a day plus milk feeds, you can try dropping a milk feed (at lunchtime, say) and offering water or diluted fruit juice in a feeding beaker instead.
Given at a main mealtime, well-diluted fruit juices (one part juice to ten of water) containing vitamin C will help your baby absorb more valuable iron from food.
Why not try HiPP Organic juices with mineral water? They're diluted to just the right strength for your baby, and they taste great!
Is your baby drinking enough?
Babies who are solely breast or bottle fed should be getting enough fluids. After your baby starts to eat solid foods, though, you'll usually need to start offering extra drinks – enough so that your baby's nappy is wet with pale urine at every nappy change.
If your baby is dehydrated, you may notice one or more of these signs:
- Dark yellow urine
- A sunken fontanelle (soft spot)
- Dry or sticky lips and mouth
- Skin that has lost its elasticity
If you notice any of these symptoms, offer your baby some extra fluids straight away. It's worth paying special attention during hot weather, too – babies become dehydrated much more quickly than adults do!