It’s getting cold outside, and it’s time to find some novel ways to keep mealtime fun! Here are some beverage ideas for babies and toddlers that will keep them warm and toasty while trying a few new tastes!
Developmentally, we start to teach open-cup drinking between 4-6 months of age and straw cup drinking between 9-15 months. During these stages of swallowing development, babies will need to try a variety of liquid temperatures (frozen, cold, room temperature) and especially warm ones during the winter months. Here are a few ideas to try with your little one:
Warm Breastmilk + Formula
Most of the families I work with only offer cold or room-temperature breastmilk (or formula) when introducing their baby to a cup. However, when learning to drink from an open cup or straw cup, some babies need to have sensory encouragement by changing up the temperature of the liquid.
Warm Lemon Water
Since young babies should not drink water (due to the medical risk to their kidneys or swallowing difficulties with a thin liquid), I introduce water around 9-10 months of age. By then, their kidneys are fully developed, and they have had months of successful drinking with thicker liquids (e.g., breast milk, formula, fresh smoothies, and thin or thick purees). But water can get boring real fast for active babies, so changing-up the taste and temperature is key!
Developmentally, a toddler should be drinking independently from an open cup (with minimal spillage) around 12 months of age. And having a warm liquid treat can encourage them to practice their drinking skills. Here are two beverages to try with your tot:
Warm Vanilla Milk
Now that your baby is a toddler, you are adding whole cow milk to their diet. During this transition, parents often offer hot chocolate as the only warm milk option during cold weather. However, I like to encourage parents to try warm vanilla milk as an alternative to sugary hot chocolate.
Chamomile or Mint Teas
Being Hispanic, I grew up with herbal teas common in Mexico and embedded in our culture. As a toddler, I was often given chamomile tea before bed to decrease night terrors and elicit sleep. Having a small “tea party” before bed became a common routine that I enjoyed and cherished.
Adding warm drinks to your mealtime rotation (or nighttime routine) can make new tastes and temperatures more fun for the whole family! So what are some warm beverages your family enjoys together?
xo Ms. Dawn