Water is incredibly important for human survival. Our bodies need water to:
- deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body through blood
- make saliva and other digestive juices
- regulate body temperature
- flush out waste products through urine and sweat
There are three ways to meet our water needs:
- Through food. Most food is largely composed of water. For example, a carrot is 88% water by weight. Milk is 90%.
- Through metabolic processes. Chemical reactions in our bodies produce water. For example, when our muscles use energy, water is produced.
- Through drinking water and other fluids.
From the time a baby is born to when he starts eating solid foods, he can meet his full fluid requirements from breastmilk or formula. Even if it the temperature is hot and your baby is sweating more than usual, breastmilk or formula is all a young baby needs.
When you start your baby on solids, you can introduce her to drinking water. This is a great time and opportunity to also introduce your baby to drinking from an open cup. At the beginning of introducing solid food to babies, their main form of nutrition will still be breastmilk or formula.
These are the only two beverages a baby needs:
- milk (breastmilk, formula, or for an older baby: whole cow’s milk)
Did you notice that juice didn’t make the list? There is no nutritional advantage for a baby or child to drink juice over eating a piece of fruit. Juice is basically liquid sugar with very little other nutritional value. Juice should be considered a treat, or something that a child receive on occasion, not an everyday food.