What should baby drink?

One thing I’ve done as the hippie, do-it-yourself mama that I am, is make my own baby food.  Okay, I haven’t done is exclusivley, but I have made a fair amount.  The cookbook I’ve been using is Cooking Light First Foods. I like it because a major contributor is an RD, and it has both recipes for “baby food” as well as feeding and nutrition advice. It also has recipes for older babies and toddlers, i.e. foods to make for the whole family, and how to alter a few things to make the recipe baby friendly.

Anyway, CLFF said that around 8  months I should introduce a sippy cup. I did that, but somehow, my Sweet Potato just didn’t get the hang of it.  With the soft spout cups, she just wanted to feel the spout with her fingers, and with the hard spout cups, she just wanted to bite it.  But finally one of my friends suggested the straw-type sippy cup, and showed me her own daughter, my own Sweet Potato’s age, expertly sipping through the straw.  Wow! I thought. I need to try that cup!  It took a little practice, and some demonstration (See Baby? Suck on the straw, like this. ::Suck in cheeks and make a fishy face::)  The fishy face did it.  SP figured it out!

So what did I put in the cup?  For her first few cups, it was about 2/3 apple juice and 1/3 water. I wanted her to be motivated to figure out that cup! But after she was good at it, I decreased it to about 1/3 apple juice, and now she’s just drinking water.  My feeling is that juice is about as sugary as soda, with hardly any redeeming qualities. I don’t want my children to think that all their drinks need to be sweet.  Water is a wonderful beverage, and I want to teach them to enjoy it.  And Sweet Potato drinks water just fine.

I’m looking forward to giving her cow’s milk soon, but the general advice is to wait until a baby is 1 to start with milk.  I always thought this was to avoid a milk protein allergy, but apparently, it’s just to keep parents from weaning a baby off breast-milk or formula and onto cow’s milk.  Honestly, I’m not sure what  the point is in waiting, since whatever I give her in a sippy cup is supplemental to nursing.  I’m not replacing breast-milk with water, juice or cow’s milk; I’m giving her a liquid in a cup to increase her fluid intake, possibly her calorie intake, and teach her that there are drinks that taste different than breast-milk.  But whatever. If I need to wait a few more weeks before I give her hippie organic grass-fed omega-3 spiked milk, so be it.

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