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Healthy drinks for babies

If your baby is under 6 months of age, the only fluid they need is breastmilk or formula. This provides them with all the hydration they need. From 6 months old, you can offer them cooled boiled tap water.  

After 6 months you may choose to offer water in a cup to help them learn how to use a cup. Drinking from a cup is different to drinking from the breast or a bottle, so introducing the cup can reduce any confusion between breast and bottle. 

Breastmilk or formula should be your baby’s main drink until 12 months of age. After 12 months, there is no need to boil their water.  

Healthy drinks drinking milk

You can keep breastfeeding your baby after 12 months, for as long as it suits you and your baby. If your baby has been on formula, and is eating a balanced diet, there is no need to continue this after 12 months.  

Once your baby has turned one, you can offer them full fat cow’s milk to drink, as well as tap water.

If you have any allergy concerns or considering dairy alternatives, please speak to your GP, paediatrician or child and family health nurse.  

Encouraging your bay to drink waterdrinking water

As your baby grows, their water consumption should increase. See the below tips for encouraging your baby to drink more water:  

  • Increase your own water consumption so your child can see you choosing water as your main drink 

  • Make water easily available at home.  

  • Have water on the table at meal and snack times 

  • Add pieces of frozen fruit to their water bottle to make it more appealing to them 

  • Take a filled water bottle whenever you leave the house with your child 

Drinks to avoid

The best drinks for your baby under 12 months are breastmilk or formula and water.  The best drinks for your baby over 12 months are breastmilk, water and full-fat cow’s milk.  

Below are some drinks that you should avoid offering your baby: 

  • Fruit juice. Offer them a piece of fruit instead.  

  • Soft drinks 

  • Cordial 

  • Sports drinks 

  • Energy drinks, coffee and tea 

  • Flavoured milk 

Related Articles: 

Eating Independently

Trying New Foods

[Raising Children, 2021; Pregnancy, Birth & Baby, 2020.]