Baby Doesn’t Drink Water: SOS MoMs Reply

Mommy Roshni Modi has written to us about her one and a half year old baby who doesn’t drink water and needs help.

Water is crucial for your child’s health. It hydrates, helps regulate body temperature, and even helps prevent constipation and urinary tract infections, all this without adding any extra calories or sugar to your kids diet. Your toddler’s entire body relies on adequate amounts of water to function properly. Your kids need between 5 and 8 cups of water approximately everyday to meet their body’s water requirement. If kids’ first drink from a sippy cup is water, and they see their family enjoying it, chances are that they will happily drink water without ever questioning whether they like it or not.

If you’ve got young children, start them early with water and be consistent. They’ll drink it and like it. Half of the human body is water; we’re hard-wired to crave it. It’s a good idea to offer your child something to drink often, especially during warm weather, because young bodies can become dehydrated so easily. Children are also more likely than adults to ignore their thirst when they’re busy. In fact, by the time your child realizes she’s thirsty, she’s probably already a little dehydrated.

If your children aren’t in the habit of drinking water, or are rebelling against it, here are some tricks to keep them hydrated

  • Make it special: Get some bendy straws for big glasses of ice water. Find some big, colorful, insulated mugs. Let your kids pick out their own drinking vessels. Many Kids love their cartoon water bottles more than some of their toys, so it’s always near them and ready for a sip.
  • Make it portable: Water bottles are your best ally. Get your kid a water bottle he likes. Keep it with him. If he’s little, make him feel important by allowing him to fill it himself. If he’s older, make sure it’s a bottle he’s willing to carry. You want water to always be accessible.
  • Spike it: Some people, especially kids in the habit of drinking juice or sports drinks, think water is too plain. Don’t fight with them. Splash in a little lemon or lime juice. Throw in frozen fruit (raspberries work great for this), or mint leaves. You’ll add enough flavor to get them to drink it, which is what’s important.
  • Get icy cold: Kids love ice. Even as an adult, there’s something fun and a bit festive about the clinking of cubes in a glass. As my sons say, icy cold water is just good.
  • Make sure that your child sees you drinking water – and enjoying it!
  • If she steadfastly won’t drink water, try diluting her drinks with water – half juice, half water. Gradually increase the dilution until she is basically drinking water.
  • If all else fails, feed her water-rich foods. Most soups, vegetables and milk have high water content, somewhere around 80%. Try home-made juice iceblocks and fruit smoothies.
  • Make drinking water into a game: Challenge your kid to drink to a certain level of the cup.
  • Freeze some cool shapes: There are many different shapes of ice trays available in the market, get the favorite shape and slip it in your child’s drink to make it more fun for him.
  • Teach your kid to self serve: Set up some cups in an accessible place and tell your child that they are free to get her own water whenever they want. Independence can be a motivating factor for your child to sip in some extra liquid.
  • Create a Pissing Match: Yeah. Literally. Tell your kid you can tell how much water she is drinking by the color of her pee. Very yellow means not enough and pretty clear means you are winning at water.
  • Make a cup of juice the reward for finishing the water.

Water is easier for the body to break down than other beverages, leading to less stress on the kidneys. And water is free of calories, sugar, fat, additives, and preservatives, so it’s a good first choice. Children get an added benefit from drinking fluoridated water: It helps their teeth grow strong. Fluoride strengthens the outer coating of the teeth and makes teeth less susceptible to decay. It can also help repair damage to teeth. Fluoride even strengthens teeth that are growing in the gums, so if your child still has her baby teeth, getting enough fluoride helps to ensure the health of her adult teeth.

Finally, don’t be afraid to let your kids know why you want them to drink water. Tell them how important it is to stay hydrated. Tell them how sugary drinks don’t really quench your thirst. This is especially true for older kids, but I’ve found that even my little guys appreciate knowing how their bodies work. It’s cool and becomes something for them to be proud about–that they know the WHY behind a family rule as well as the fact that they’re doing something good for themselves.

With Special Thanks to all our expert Moms:

Misha Bhattal, Divya Deepak, Garima Chawla, Supriya Poranki, Suparna Banerjee, Jerrin Liz Eapen, Sangita Kumar, Sonika Kamble, Vanela Kohli, Jose Bose Chatterjee, Khushboo Joseph, Aarti Vedpathak, Maya Silavat, Venky Ramakrishnan, Sharmila Chakravarthy, Shruthi Shruthinaveen

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