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Beverages for Babies In Their First Year


baby eating liquid food from mom's spoon

At about six months, you can teach your baby to drink from a cup. Use a lidless, two handled cup instead of a sip cup.  

Sip cups bathe a baby's teeth in fluids and can cause tooth decay.

Have your baby sit upright and drink from a regular cup.

Drink Choices

To help your baby get used to a cup, start by offering sips of water. Your child will learn, through practice, how to hold the cup so water doesn’t run down her front or up her nose. Water should not replace breast milk.

Babies don’t need juice. If you decide to give it, choose 100% unsweetened juice and offer no more than 125 ml (1/2 cup) per day. Juice can make your baby feel full, which can create challenges at mealtimes. Avoid unpasteurized juices; they may contain harmful bacteria that can make your baby sick. Don’t offer sweetened fruit beverages, pop, slushes or caffeinated beverages. Sugary drinks can cause tooth decay.

If you can, breastfeed until your baby is two years or older. It’s OK to start offering small amounts of whole cow’s milk in a lidless cup when:

  • Your baby is nine to 12 months of age and
  • Your baby is eating a variety of foods high in iron.

If you choose whole goat’s milk, it must be pasteurized and must have vitamin D added.

Sometimes babies would rather drink cow’s milk or goat’s milk than eat solid foods. However, too much milk fills up a baby’s small tummy and leaves little room for other healthy foods. Babies who drink too much cow’s or goat’s milk are at risk of not getting enough iron, so limit milk to 500 ml (2 cups) per day.

Soy and Rice Beverages

Babies and toddlers need fat for brain development. Soy and rice beverage are low in fat and are safe choices only after your child is 24 months old. 

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Feeding Your Infant
HealthLink BC: Baby’s First Foods


Last Updated: August 12, 2013