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Fluids And Your Baby

Your baby's body is about 75% water! Babies require fluids to aid in digestion, to keep skin hydrated, to feel healthy and energized, and to regulate body temperature. How much fluid your baby takes in a day depends on how active she is. But water remains the most essential drink, especially for babies under 24 months of age.

Breastfed babies get enough water from breast milk but bottle-fed babies may need small amounts of water because formula tends to make them thirsty. In hot weather some breastfed babies may require additional water.

Water Matters!

As long as possible feed your baby water instead of juice. For the first 2 years of life baby needs to drink either milk or water. Offering water from an early age will get your baby accustomed to it and prevent the dependency on juice as a means to quench thirst. Water offered to baby should be clean and pure so ideally tap water should be filtered before being boiled. Actually babies do not need juices; baby juices are mostly made up from water, colorings and sugar. But should you decide to introduce juice after this period, ensure it is well diluted (one part juice to 10 parts water). Give all fluids other than milk in a trainer cup or beaker, not a bottle. Also, keep the following in mind:

• Use water that has been freshly drawn from the tap, then boil and cool it before serving. Avoid giving your baby repeatedly boiled water as the level of sodium will be higher, definitely not good for your baby.

• Babies prefer just warm instead of cold water. Do not add any flavorings as a thirsty baby will drink water in its natural state.

• Do not give baby under 2 years of age sparkling mineral water or water known as 'natural mineral water' because of the high mineral content. Read labels carefully and only use bottled water where the sodium content is below 10mg per 100ml.

All babies need water after solid foods to help in digestion and elimination. Offer plenty of water between meals, diluted fruit juices with meals and avoid squashes or fruit cordials.

Fruit Juices

Very diluted, unsweetened 100% juices (purchased or home-made) can be introduced gradually if you like, as early as nine months, provided there is no history of allergies. It is good to start with apple juice (orange juice can trigger reactions in some children). Juices introduced earlier or later should be given in limited quantities simply because water is better. Besides, too much juice in your baby's diet will signal to her that water is boring.

• Juice should be given preferably at mealtimes to protect the emerging teeth. Juice tastes good because of the sugar content and acids. Saliva created when eating will help neutralize them.

• Remember to dilute one part fruit juice to 10 parts water and serve it in a cup or beaker. Prolonged sucking from a bottle can cause the fluid to stay longer in the mouth and leading to possible dental erosion.

• Get into the practice of reading labels and take note where sugar appears in the list of ingredients. It can appear in different forms (maltose, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup etc) and it may appear several times on a list but under different names. The nearer the ingredient is to the beginning of the list, the greater the amount.

• Needless to say, avoid juices that contain artificial ingredients such as aspartame as these are not intended for babies or kids.

• Too much juice can cause indigestion, bloated tummy, diarrhea or constipation apart from piling on weight.

• Do not clean your babies teeth immediately after she's had juice as the acid and sugar levels is at the highest then and this can cause damage to the teeth.

• Ready-made juices without preservatives (UHT juices in airtight cartons) can contain many vitamins and minerals as ready made freshly squeezed ones.

• For variation home prepared juices can be made with vegetables such as carrots, celery combined with apple and should be consumed as soon as possible to benefit from the nutrients.

Tea or Coffee

• Beverages no matter how weak reduces the absorption rate of iron and other minerals derived from food. The caffeine in it acts as a stimulant, something your baby can do without. Even if served with milk sans sugar, it is not recommended for young children below two.

• Kids over two can have a mild cup of tea diluted in milk occasionally as tea contains antioxidants. But coffee has too much of caffeine, definitely not advisable.

• Hot chocolate drinks can contain quite a bit of sugar and a caffeine-like substance known as theobromine, which disrupts sleep. It should be given earlier in the day and ensure it is a reputable brand.

Carbonated mineral water is a no-no for babies because it can cause gas and cramping.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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