Water, Sippy Cups And More
Water, Sippy Cups And More
Rebecca Charlton (Lactation Educator & Registered Dietitian, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles) gives expert video advice on: How do I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?; How do I transition my baby to a sippy cup?; How can my baby avoid developing problems with sippy cups? and more...
Does my baby need to drink water?
In general any baby who is breast fed or formula fed will not need to drink any additional water or juices apart from their daily diet. However if your baby is running a fever or if it is especially hot outside and you don't have air conditioning, then the baby should drink water: 1 to 2 ounces of water given whenever the baby seems especially tired might help your baby to perk up and avoid dehydration.
Do I need to give my baby vitamins?
It's not necessary to provide any kind of vitamin for your baby. If your baby is breastfeeding well or formula feeding, your baby gets all the vitamins that it's going to need in a daily regimen. However, if your baby has special health care needs, if your baby is unable to eat solid foods, or has any other concern, you and your doctor could discuss vitamins and their appropriate use.
Do I need to give my baby fluoride?
The only exception to the vitamin and mineral rule is fluoride. Your baby's teeth and bones do need fluoride. And if it's not available in your water supply, you'll need to ask your doctor to provide fluoride supplements. You can call the public health committee in your local region in order to find out if your water is fluoridated. If it is, provide tap water for your baby. Bottled water is not necessary.
At what age does my baby need fluoride?
If you're breastfeeding, your baby is not likely to need fluoride during its first year, because breast milk will provide some. However, if you're bottle feeding, then from the newborn period you'll need to be mixing your water with some kind of fluoride source, and discussing it with your pediatrician. After six months, all babies probably need a little bit of fluoride. Once again, you can get that probably from your water supply, and if not, then talking to your pediatrician.
Why does my baby have yellow teeth?
Your baby could have yellow teeth for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is a lack of fluoride in the tap water, or not having fluoride supplements. Your baby's teeth might become yellow at that point. Of course, these yellow teeth they will be lost eventually; you don't have to worry about it. However, if your baby is bottle-fed, and has yellow teeth, you should have your baby evaluated for baby-bottle tooth decay.
What is "baby bottle tooth decay"?
Baby bottle tooth decay is an advanced decay of the teeth caused by the constant dripping of milk into a baby's mouth. Baby bottle tooth decay happens because of the way baby bottles are formed. When you tip the bottle just right, the milk just drips into the baby's mouth, without the baby having to stop it or interact at all. This constant dripping of milk can lead to the milk sitting on the baby's teeth and causing decay over time.
What happens if baby bottle tooth decay is not treated?
When baby bottle tooth decay goes untreated, it can damage the root of the teeth and the teeth growing underneath it, causing the baby to have problems with their teeth throughout their lifespan. Also because they lack teeth, children with untreated baby bottle tooth decay may not learn to eat as well as children who have the teeth that they need. If there's damage to the root of the teeth and to the nerve underneath it, it is impossible to tell whether or not the baby has adult teeth.
Should I give my baby a pacifier?
Whether or not you give your baby a pacifier is a very delicate and risky situation. In some ways pacifiers are a mother's best friend; in other ways pacifiers can be a nightmare. Remember that a pacifier is a very abnormal thing for a baby and has only been introduced for small babies in the past hundred years. Before that, a baby would suckle at a mother's breast whenever it needed to be comforted. In general, you should put a baby to the breast when it needs to suck, however in some situations when you have a fussy or colicky baby, a pacifier can be very useful. Pacifiers should be given for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, then removed from the baby's mouth. Babies shouldn't be allowed to sleep with the pacifier. What can happen, because a pacifier is an abnormal thing, the pacifier can move your baby's teeth from their correct placement. So, please, take your pacifier out before your baby falls asleep.
What is a "sippy cup"?
A "sippy cup" is a training tool that's used to teach your baby the transition from drinking from breast or bottle to regular cups used by adults. "Sippy cups" have a spout that allows the baby to tip it and fill a dropper a little bit at a time. Most "sippy cups" have a valve, or some kind of control mechanism, that will allow the baby to only get a small amount of liquid each time, so that it avoids problems such as choking.
How much juice, milk or water should I give my baby each day in his sippy cup?
In your 'sippy cup', you'll want to keep it exclusively for certain kinds of liquids. Remember that juice, milk, and water are to be used in small amounts during your baby's first year of life. After the first year of life, you can give up to four ounces at a time in a baby's 'sippy cup'. It's a very small amount, and it's your baby's total juice intake for the entire day. You may fill it up with additional water, but that's it for apple juice in a day. Some people would be surprised that this tiny little 'sippy cup' contains actually about ten ounces' worth of fluid. This would be almost your baby's entire milk intake for one day; in fact, two of these 'sippy cups' is your baby's full milk intake for one day. So remember that 'sippy cup' sizes are very deceptive. Give small amounts. Let your baby only carry water around with him in a 'sippy cup' and not juice or milk.