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Mum, I'm thirsty! - what will quench the baby's thirst

Water, juice, soft drink, compote? What should you give your baby to drink, and in what daily amounts? Which signs related to insufficient amount of drank fluids raise a red flag? What is healthy for the baby, and what should not be given to him at all? You will find answers to these questions in this article.
Edited by LOVI | 19 March 2014

Nobody needs to be reminded that supplying fluids to our bodies is as important as eating. Well, some even say that it is more important. You have to drink - sounds easy. But every day parents face an important task - ensuring appropriate amount of fluids in a daily diet of their baby. Only then they will create optimal conditions for the baby to develop and play, for his wellness and good health. Here you will find information about what should you give to your baby to drink, how much and how.


Did you know that…
 

the body will absorb fluids more effectively, i.e., will be optimally hydrated, when you supply them in small amounts but frequently.

to each his fill

Water is the main constituent of the human body, and every day about 4–6% of fluid in the body is replaced. Fluid is excreted with urine, sweat, tears, breathes and saliva.  This loss must be supplemented in excess.

Body's demand for fluids is measured in relation to its weight in kilograms.  It is calculated as 100 ml for each of first 10 kilograms of baby's weight, and 50 ml for each successive one. These values should be treated as indicative, as other circumstances are also very important. For example, during play, physical exercise, heatwave, fever, etc., the baby's body needs more fluid than the basic demand calculated as above.

Fluids are not just water or other drinks alone, they are also in soups, fruit, vegetables, cereals, yogurts or kefir.

what about the youngest

According to the current guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations, breastfed babies do not require additional drinks before the end of the six month of their life. To them mother's milk is both a drink (the first-phase milk) and a satiating meal (the second-phase and the night milk). However, again, everything depends on the baby and the situation. When it is necessary, or the body losses more water, the baby should be latched on more often to drink, and when there is a risk of dehydration, there is nothing wrong in giving him boiled spring water from a drinking cup.

Bottle-fed infants should receive infant formula until the end of their fourth month. It must be remembered, however, that despite best efforts of producers to make that milk as similar to mother's milk as possible, it is thicker and sometimes may not fully quench baby's thirst, particularly in a situation of increased water loss from the body. We advise against modifying proportions of water and formula powder recommended by a producer, as this may result in stomach ache or colic. What you can do is to give additional drink to the bottle-fed baby, particularly during a heat wave, so between feedings with a formula give him other fluids, preferably water.

Beware of a dehydration risk

Hoping you will not need this, we would like to remind you the alarming signs signaling your baby is very close to dehydration or dehydrated.

  • chapped and dry lips;

  • sunken fontanel;

  • less urine passed/wet diapers;

  • changed colour and smell of urine: dark yellow colour, intensive acidic smell;

  • dry, less elastic skin;

  • fainting.

However, you should remember that…
 

water is a food product - it can go off, and bacteria multiply in it! So you should store it properly and use contents of an opened bottle within 48 hours.

favoring water

The best drink you can give to a child of any age is water. Still, spring water, additionally boiled for the youngest children. When selecting water discuss your choices with health care specialists or check at relevant consumer and parenting websites or forums. 

Benefits of water, i.e., why it should be given to children:

  • it is absorbed very well, so it satisfies thirst quickly and effectively;

  • it does not contain sugar, preservatives, artificial colours (be careful with flavored water, this is water only in name);

  • it is neutral, does not acidify stomach;

  • it removes toxins from the body;

  • it controls blood pressure and body temperature;

  • it is necessary for correct metabolism, so it prevents obesity.

Do you want to have flavoured water?
 

Add flavour to water yourself! You can add lemon juice and crushed mint leaves, squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, simply, anything your family likes.

So when can you start to give that drink? From the beginning! Water is neutral,  does not cause allergies, or interfere with taste preferences so the baby prefers only sweet drinks as in the case of babies receiving sweet teas, glucose or juices from the beginning.

We can also add some practical aspects - water does not leave spots, so it is perfect for teaching drinking from an open cup, as we do not have to worry about spilling, splashing and other experiments with the law of gravity :)

milk

If not a bottle of milk, then what?
 

You have decided to wean your baby and now are wondering how to feed him with the follow-on formula. You do not have to introduce a bottle! Non-spill cups are a perfect solution. You could designate one just for the formula.

For first years of his life, milk is very important component of the child's diet, being one of main sources of calcium and protein. It is recommended for babies whose adventure with the breast came to an end to drink formulas appropriate for their age up to the third year of their life. It is still too early for cow's milk, but when the baby is one, you can introduce small amounts of kefir, natural yogurt, buttermilk or hard cheese into his diet.

juice

Juices are introduced into the baby's diet from seventh month in the case of a breastfed baby, and from fifth month in children fed with a formula. They should be introduced in accordance with principles for expanding baby's diet - carefully, in small doses and preferably starting with single-ingredient juice.


NOTE
 

Do not buy unpasteurized, freshly-squeezed juices for small children. They may contain Yersinia, a dangerous bacteria. Freshly-squeezed juice you should prepare only yourself at home.

Of course, the best solution is to squeeze juices yourself from organic fruit. And this is what we strongly recommend. And if you buy ready juices, read labels - ingredients and name - as nectars or drinks are not juices. Also look for the claim "dietary food intended for the particular nutritional use of infants and young children", then you can be certain that this juice is approved for young children. Juices should not contain added sugar in the form of sucrose or glucose and fructose syrup.

You should remember that in elder children juice represents one of 5 recommended portions of fruit.  And one glass of juice is enough. Too much juice in the diet may affect child's appetite and contribute to caries.

compote

Good old compote, recommended and served by our Grandmas, unfortunately does not contain so many good vitamins as fruit or juice, because vitamins are lost during cooking. However, it is an excellent drink to enrich the menu. And to provide vitamins, leave aside some fruit for compote and make juice out of them, then, when compote is cooled, mix the two drinks at the 1:1 ratio.

tea

Provided it is not black, red (green and white are also not recommended), granulated and sweetened with sugar, tea can be introduced to child's menu. So we recommend herbal and, for slightly older children, fruit teas.

Herbs served with caution, as a special purpose drink, can be given even to small babies, to use benefits of a natural medicine. Fennel, chamomile and mint for colic, linden tree, raspberry or rosehip tea for cold, melissa to calm down. You can brew tea from a teabag, and dilute it appropriately before giving it to the baby. Granulated teas for children available on the market contain a lot of unwanted sugar.

we do not recommend, or even warn against

  • black tea (theine);

  • coffee (caffeine);

  • carbonated drinks (sodium benzoate, sugar, calories);

  • granulated teas (sugar, preservatives);

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