Leading medical and nutrition organizations have come together to release a new set of science-based comprehensive beverage recommendations for children from birth through age 5.
“From zero to six months, babies really get all of their nutrition and hydration needs met through breast milk or infant formula,” said Megan Lott, MPH, RD, Deputy Director of Healthy Eating Research. “They don’t need anything else.”
The reason to introduce water after six months up to a year is more about cup skills than hydration initially.
“Around one is a big transition point where we add in whole milk, which has many essential nutrients along with increasing the amount of plain drinking water,” Lott said. “A small amount of 100% juice is okay after one year old, but it’s really important to make sure it’s 100% fruit juice to avoid added sugar.”
Not all sugar is created equally.
“Milk and 100% fruit juice do have naturally occurring sugars in them,” said Lott. “The difference between those sugars that are naturally occurring in foods and a lot of those you’ll find in the other
beverages we’re not recommending young kids consume, is that those sugars are also accompanied by a lot of other essential vitamins and minerals and nutrients that young, growing bodies and brains need.”
For a full list of recommendations for amounts and types of drinks for those under age 5, go to healthydrinkshealthykids.org.