- This is the best drink alternative to milk.
- Before 6 months boil tap water (from the mains tap in the kitchen) and allow it to cool before serving. If you are abroad and unsure of the water quality, do boil the water before giving it to your little one.
- Bottled water is not a better alternative to tap water as it is not usually sterile. It may also have high levels of minerals such as sodium.
- Cow’s Milk – Before 1 year, formula and breastmilk are the best drink options as cow’s milk does not have enough iron. You can use full fat cow’s milk in cooking. After 1 year, you can introduce whole cow’s milk as a main drink.
- Follow-on milk – These milks are marketed at babies over 6 months as these have higher amounts of protein and some minerals. There is no need to change to follow on milk as your baby should be getting these additional nutrients from solid food.
- Pasteurised sheep’s and goat’s milk are also not advised before 1 year
- Rice milk should not be offered at all until 5 years old to reduce exposure to inorganic arsenic.
- There is no need to offer fruit juice at all if your baby is eating fruit. The longer you can avoid offering sweetened drinks the better.
- If you do offer fruit juice, please ensure it is well diluted with water – 1 part juice to 10 parts water.
- Squashes, flavoured milk, fizzy drinks and juice drinks should be avoided due to their sugar content.
- Drinks with sweeteners should also not be offered (check any labels that say ‘no added sugar’!).
- Tea and coffee are not suitable as they reduce iron absorption.
TOP TIP: Water or milk are the best drinks to offer at meal times