Aside from milk, water should also be on your baby’s ‘vital intake’ list. However, that is easier said than done for most parents whose little ones often put up quite the tantrum when it comes to drinking water. They are so used to breast milk that when they transition to solids, they still demand the same. Your aim is to get your baby to adopt water with solid foods.
- Breast milk is 80% water, which means it is not impossible for you to encourage the change from one to the other.
- Make the water ‘feel’ like breast milk. Start by warming it a bit; this does not always work, though.
- Expressed Breast Milk (EBM) can be very useful for mothers; because it lets you extract or express your milk and store it for later use. There are electric or manual breast pumps for this. This is great for when you are unable to breast-feed your hungry baby at that time; out comes the bottle with the expressed milk.
- Now suppose you can slowly keep diluting this milk and feeding it to your baby until the final step when you have only water in abundance. Your baby will be taught to drink water like they do breast milk.
- Some babies like straws in their cups. It feels somewhat like a nipple to them. It does take time for children to learn to use a straw properly but it is a good exercise in stimulation that keeps them interested. Water with a straw seems like a good combination.
- You need to drink some water with them as well, so they can see that it is okay, be reassured by it, and hopefully join you in time.
7 months is generally a good time to start your infant on water. However, be ready to wait until month-10 because children sometimes automatically start to like water by that age.
There is the problem of infants drinking bath water. They do this out of a mischievous desire to play at the wrong time; kids the world over do this. Children are often bathed in potable water anyway, for skin care reasons, so it is a good idea to let them get their water intake this way before you bring out the soap and shampoo.
Tips & Tricks To Make Your Infant Drink Water
Here are some common tips and ideas collated from parents who said they worked and got their infants to finally drink water.
- Special Cups
The glasses or cups are mainly for stimulation, so get the best BPA-plastic-free ones that your child adores. They need to be themed – either princess, alien, animals, Disney or some kid-friendly design that your baby takes a liking to. The next time you offer them water in that cup, they will try it just to enjoy the cup/glass.
You can also let them choose the cup or glass, and throw in a straw that interests them; a ‘silly straw’, perhaps. Note: These products should all be suitable for babies not adults.
- Fewer Options
Keep away from giving your baby too many options. Do not clutter their life with a hundred different bottles and cups. Alternate three main liquids for your baby throughout the day:
- Milk (breast milk or formula)
- Juice; fruits; diluted 50-50
Try not to move to the next beverage until your kid is done with the one at hand. If you have more than one baby, have them play a game to see who finishes first. Keep the liquid content at 4-6 ounces and let your baby drink it at their own leisure. That way they do not feel forced and will be more willing to listen to you. You can gradually get them to drink water without flavoring.
It cannot look like a chore or, worse, punishment. Having your child drink water might be difficult in itself. Buy fruit-flavored water that is safe for babies and dilute that 50-50. The taste will be rather stimulating and encourage the baby to drink.
Whatever you choose to mix with your water, make sure you confirm with your doctor first; you baby may be allergic to certain fruits. Some fresh orange squirts or a wedge of lemon in the water adds flavor as well and is perfectly harmless.
Use cups with sports sippy tops and keep water for your child in accessible locations around the house; in lower shelves, etc. This way, your baby will feel more inclined to drink water and not have you come at a particular time to offer it to them. They may not be in the mood for a drink then.
This is similar to the previous point. Even if your little one tells you they are not thirsty, they could be and not know it. Ask them to drink a sip or two anyway. Before long, they may drink more than they expected. Next, place a sippy cup of water in an easy to reach spot and let you child go to it each time they are thirsty. If the water in that cup is the only thing to drink and they cannot find anything else, they will not say no.
It is often the water itself not the cup you serve it in that makes your baby refuse to drink. Small medicine cups, cups with no spout, cups with/without handles, or cups with/without valves, are not always helpful. Your infant or toddler will press their lips tight and start crying really loudly if you attempt to force them to drink water.
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