Did you know that the first cup Judy recommends babies learn to drink from is an open cup at around 6 months?
This Tiny Cup from ezpz (not sponsored) is one of our favorite new open cups, but you could also use a shot glass or a cup found in our Amazon store. Open cup usage helps babies learn to take a small amount of liquid in their mouth and successfully swallow. This is especially helpful for straw and other cup drinking, as sometimes babies don’t know what to do when the liquid hits their mouth. Judy finds that if her clients drink from an open cup first they’re more likely to master a straw cup or Miracle 360 cup. Plus, learning an open cup is a skill your child will use for life.
We have an entire guide to teaching your baby open cup, straw cup, and 360 cup drinking on our blog, plus find our favorite cup recommendations there! It’s actually one of our most frequently asked questions. We also talk about why teaching a cup in infancy is important and why it’s OK to give a little bit of water to babies 6+ months. (No, they don’t need it for hydration - it’s more to help them learn cup drinking, prevent constipation, and start to appreciate the flavor of water.)
Struggling with getting your kiddo to drink water or milk in toddlerhood, and wondering what to do about weaning from the breast or bottle when you’re ready? Perhaps you want to breastfeed into toddlerhood and aren’t quite sure how to make it work for you? Check out our Milk and Weaning eBook, which is also included in Step 4 of our Infant Course and Step 16 of our Toddler Course if you’re already a client. It will help you make the best decision for your family and includes info for breastfeeding/pumping families, formula-feeding families, those who want to switch to cows milk or another alternative milk, and those who don’t want to use milk in toddlerhood. It’s balanced and non-judgmental - just the facts from your favorite feeding pros.
Coming home from vacation can be, as one of our followers called it, very “disorienting.” Ain’t that the truth! Get back on track - no, not in a “diety” or restrictive way, but in a self-care way - with some of these simple tips.
So many of us feel anxious about the return to our normal life after we’ve been on vacation. We face mile-high piles of laundry (and emails) and don’t always feel well physically because of changes to our normal eating, drinking and sleep routines. Maybe we are sad that a much-anticipated vacation is over, or perhaps the change of environment caused our precious little angels to turn into sleep-deprived, hangry tyrants. Vacations with kids aren’t always relaxing, but they can be joyous nonetheless - we just have to figure out how to manage the depressing after-vacation effects so we can smoothly integrate back into our normal, crazy lives. We hope some of these ideas help you integrate back into normal life!
Some parts of the U.S. are just now starting to thaw from a pretty rough winter, but in Arizona we are rapidly approaching 100 degree F heat. Young children don't seem to mind operating at full-speed in hot temperatures but can dehydrate faster than adults, so it's especially important to make sure that they are drinking enough fluids, especially in hot weather. We want to share some favorite mom hacks that keep kids - and adults - hydrated all summer (and all year) long.
How much is enough?
For babies under 6 months of age, breast milk or formula will fulfill all of their hydration needs, and additional water is not recommended (and can even be dangerous in large quantities). Breastfed babies should have at least 5-6 wet diapers and at least 6-12 feeds per day, depending on baby's age. Formula fed babies will usually drink at minimum 20-24 ounces per day after the newborn period. Hydrated babies have moist mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes, pale yellow urine, plenty of tears when crying, and no sunken soft spot.
Babies 6 months and older can have a few ounces of water per day, gradually increasing water intake toward their first birthday. Click here to learn how to introduce cups to your 6+ month old. It is important to not displace breast milk or formula with water until baby is closer to 1, as baby's milk will remain their main source of nutrition and hydration in infancy as their solid intake slowly increases.
Fluid need estimates for toddlers vary depending on the source. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommends about 44 oz of fluid (5.5 cups) per day for 1 - 3 year olds, while other various sources recommend about 4-6 cups of fluid per day. If you'd like to calculate your child's estimated fluid needs by weight, check out this calculator.
Yes...this is a lot of fluid. It's a lot more than what many toddlers drink. Instead of focusing on a number, watch your toddler. His urine should be pale yellow (unless taking B vitamins, perhaps as part of a multivitamin supplement), and he should not have a dry mouth. Watch for crankiness, headache, lethargy, dizziness and dry skin - all signs that your child is dehydrated. Call your pediatrician immediately if you're worried about your child's safety when it comes to their hydration status.
Other hydration estimates from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are below:
Your child will need extra fluid while playing outside in the heat, performing strenuous activity or while sick.
What counts as fluid?
Water, milk, juice, and fluid from soup, veggies, fruit, and other high-fluid foods like popsicles all count toward your child's water intake. We don't recommend juice regularly unless indicated by your doctor for constipation, hydration issues or medical issues. We recommend sticking to water as much as possible.
If your toddler drinks milk, it is recommended to limit their intake to no more than 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) per day - that leaves a need for at least 1-2 cups for water for a child that drinks milk.
Try to offer water as the sole beverage besides milk and encourage free access to water throughout the day for all children 12 months and older. Offering at least 3 types of veggies and at least 2 fruits daily also helps to increase your child's water consumption, although we are fully aware that your toddler or kid might not eat the food that is served.
What can I do to keep my child hydrated?
Happy start of summer, and happy drinking (water, that is)!
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!