Infant & Toddler Milk Guidelines
Everyone knows babies are supposed to have milk, but what’s the rule with water and juice? There’s a lot of misinformation about beverage guidelines, so we want to give you the juice on...well...juice.
The first six months of a baby’s life is pretty boring when it comes to food and drinks. They cannot under any circumstances have any water or juice at all and are limited strictly to breastmilk or formula. You’ll notice how quickly they grow from being newborns to 6 months old during this time surviving just on these two things. Why is it such a big deal to avoid water the first 6 months? According to Heathline, water feedings tend to fill up your baby, making them less interested in nursing. This could actually contribute to weight loss and elevated bilirubin levels, providing water to your newborn could result in water intoxication, which can dilute the other nutrient levels in the baby’s body, and too much water causes their kidneys to flush out electrolytes, including sodium, leading to imbalances.
Life gets exciting here, in addition to having breast milk or formula, you can slowly start to introduce water to your baby during this time. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), once solids are introduced around 4 to 6 months, a baby’s milk intake reduces from a range of 30 to 42 ounces per day to around 28 to 32 ounces per day, which means your child may only need about 2 to 4 ounces of water over a 24-hour period. BUT--lay off the juice, they’re not ready for it yet.
Yay, your little one has turned one! Such an exciting time for baby. Once your child is 12-months old, their milk intake will reduce, ideally to a maximum of 16 ounces per day, which is totally fine because by this age they’re already eating breakfast, lunch and dinner like a little human. By this age they should be getting about 8 oz of water daily, and it’s ok to introduce a little juice from time to time.
2-5 Years Old:
You have a full blown toddler on your hands who has tons of opinions about what they eat and drink. This is a really tricky time because picky eaters will start to refuse foods they once loved and try to convince you to give them chocolate and juice. Don’t cave, mama! Your toddler should still have a healthy amount of milk in their daily diet (breast, skim or 1% milk) and water. And just like before, try to limit the juice.