Healthy drinks ideas

It is very important for babies and young children to have plenty of fluids to drink. It helps their body to function properly and prevents constipation. Water is the best drink in addition to milk.

Use tap water - as mineral, sweetened, flavoured or bottle fizzy water can be too high in salt and minerals for babies. Most flavoured waters contain artificial sweeteners and therefore should not be given to children. Many of these drinks also contain sugar, which can cause tooth decay. These drinks are also acidic and can erode your child’s teeth.

Between the ages of two and five, you can gradually change from whole milk to drinking semi-skimmed milk; but make sure your child has a good and varied diet too. From five years old fully skimmed milk can be given. When only one serving of milk per day is provided (e.g. at nursery) it should be whole milk.

Juice should be kept to mealtimes only, in a free-flow cup, not a feeding bottle.

Flavoured milk, milkshakes and milk-based smoothies

Contain sugars and can cause tooth decay. Keep to mealtimes when these drinks are less damaging to teeth.

Diluting juices and fizzy drinks

These contain sugars and artificial sweeteners. It is not recommended that you give these drinks to toddlers.

Fruit juices

Pure unsweetened fruit juices are a good source of vitamin C but contain natural sugar which can cause decay. Fruit juices are also acidic. Acidic drinks can quickly damage your child’s teeth.

Small amounts of pure, unsweetened fruit juice should be diluted half and half (50% juice to 50% water), or with a greater proportion of water to juice if your child is thirsty.

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