Drinks for children (12 months+)
In the second year of life, water and pasteurised full-cream milk are preferred drinks and should be offered in a cup rather than a feeding bottle. Water no longer needs to be boiled — clean tap water is fine.
Sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juice should be limited and tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks are not suitable.
Pasteurised full-cream cow’s milk is an excellent source of Calcium, Protein, Riboflavin and Vitamin B12. It may be introduced at 12 months.
Fortified soy milk drink or calcium-enriched rice and oat beverages can be used after 12 months as an alternative to cow’s milk (under health professional supervision), as long as a full-fat variety is used and other sources of Protein and Vitamin B12 are included in the diet.
Reduced-fat milk is not recommended for children under two years.
Flavoured milk can contain lots of sugar; plain milk is preferable.
Fruit juice should only be used occasionally as a substitute for whole fruit. Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits to meet their recommended daily fruit intake. Fruit juice should be limited to less than 125ml a day for children over 12 months. If you do want to give your child an occasional treat of fruit juice, mix it half with water. Children who drink too much fruit juice can have a poor appetite, diarrhoea, malnutrition (under and over-nutrition), excess tooth decay, among other problems.
Common sugar-sweetened drinks include soft drinks, sports drinks, vitamin waters, cordials, fruit drinks and energy drinks. These drinks are not necessary and should be limited. They contain very few vitamins or minerals and lots of sugar that can cause can cause excess weight gain and tooth decay.
To make water more appealing:
- buy a special novelty water bottle for your child
- add novelty shaped ice cubes or ice with frozen fruit inside
- add fruit slices/wedges for flavour
- serve it cold from the fridge in a special glass
- show that adults really like drinking water too.