A toddler who is beginning to explore his world more actively not only needs liquid for refreshment but also to contribute towards valuable nutrition. And at this age, milk should still be a big part of what your toddler is drinking.
Toddler drinking – key points
•One litre of fluids a day. Your toddler should be drinking about one litre of fluids each day. Too much more than this can be dangerous but once your child is running around more, it’s easy to forget to offer enough regular fluid breaks. If you find this is the case, set aside about a litre in various drinks (see below) in your fridge each day so you can gauge how much has been drunk. Of course during hot weather you might want to offer a bit more than this, which is fine so long as your child doesn’t drink excessively.
•Milk. About half of your child’s fluids should still be milk. After he has turned one your child can drink regular cow’s milk (unless he shows signs of an allergic reaction to this, in which case consult your GP about alternatives). Between one and two your child should drink full-fat cow’s milk – rich in calcium, B vitamins, iodine and other nutrients like vitamin A and protein. Beyond two years your child can still drink full-fat cow’s milk, but if you are concerned about the amount of other fats he is consuming, you could switch to semi-skimmed milk.
•Water. Regular tap water or cool boiled water is fine. (If abroad in a territory where you are unsure about the water source, opt for a sealed bottled water that is not too high in minerals, and do not add ice cubes made from the local water source.)
•Juice. Try to limit your child’s intake of juice as this is a major cause of tooth decay in under-5s and does not offer the same level of goodness that fresh fruit will. It is also very acidic and can lead to uncomfortable nappies if your child drinks too much. Offer at most one or two small cups of juice that are about ¾ diluted with regular water.
•Other drinks. Your child does not need sugary or carbonated drinks at this age, even as a treat. And your child should not be offered tea or coffee.
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