Kids and Beverages
cultivated by community
I brought this up with a group of friends because an email friend who uses formula found her daughter is allergic to milk. Now we have not given cow's milk to my daughter, who just turned 1. In fact we decided that she needs breastmilk more than anything else since she is still trying to catch up on her weight. (I would have nursed her until she weaned anyway but I mean not offer competitive liquids.) She had a huge hole in her heart that was patched when she was 7 months old and had leveled off at 13 pounds then. She is up to 18 pounds 2 oz now. So we just give her water and sometimes she sneaks orange juice from her brother.
Now with my son (he's 3), he would only drink breastmilk or water until he was 18 months. We really wanted him to drink juice for some reason and he refused. (This was before we did much research on parenting stuff.) Anyway long story short he loves juice now. We moved him away from apple juice in the last 8 months as it has very little nutrients and now he drinks calcium-fortified orange juice. He can drink up to 40 oz a day. He was drinking a huge amount of milk a few months ago but we found he suddenly starting stuttering so we took away the cow's milk and it stopped. So he can only have milk a great once in a while.
What is a great combination of beverage for your kids? Why are we made to believe as a society that cow's milk is such a needed thing nutritionally for our kids? Or juice for that matter? What if all our kids ever wanted to drink was water? I wish that was I all I wanted but have to have tea all day long. What do you think?
We are told we need dairy for two reasons. We were taught nutrition from materials handed out by dairy marketing boards - and toddlers NEED the fats present in breastmilk...if they aren't nursing like they should be they need those fats elsewhere...where we got the crazy notion cow's milk was better than just extending nursing...well back to that dairy marketing board!
I forget where the studies were done but they do know that kids that drink an excess of juice do not grow as well as children who don't. Juice - vitamins or not - is still sugar water and fills up small tummies.
I'd LOVE it if all my kids would drink was water. What else do other mammals drink? I'd rather offer lots of fresh fruits and have them drink water. In winter when fruit is OUTRAGEOUSLY espensive we do drink quite a bit of juice but it's diluted with water or in smoothies with other fruit. My son drinks fortified rice milk (not much - a regular tetrapak lasts a week here) juice mixed with a lot of water - mainly grape juice, some berry juice (cherry or apple mixed with berries), and very little citrus - he's not a big fan of it, or water - mainly water. For a treat I may get carob rice dream once in awhile, but he totally goes overboard and drinks a ton of it to the detriment of him eating other foods so I avoid it.
Ideally? He'd only have water.
We drink water. Other beverages are for fun, or for a snack, but not just to drink. That said, we have all kinds of beverages... organic cow milk, soy milk, rice milk, all variety of juices, teas, you name it, but....it's 1 glass a day at most. I don't know about kids, but adults are supposed to drink 2 liters of water a day. Urine is "supposed" to be clear (vitamins will off set this).
We drink water here too. Actually the only other beverage we have in our house is a carton of rice milk that I use for cooking (thinning soups and such). Other than that we all drink water. I have a cup of tea in the morning, but I pretty much put that in the water category anyway. If my daughter is hankerin' for something else, I will make her some almond milk in my blender. I just put soaked almonds, water, and a tiny drip of maple syrup. We do make smoothies here, but I feel those are OK because they use the whole fruit....plus we put nuts, seeds, etc in them too. If we are out to eat, I let my daughter order what she wants (well, except soda, but she's never asked to order it anyway), but she usually just orders water anyway (she likes that the server always brings lemons to squeeze in).
My daughter just drinks water. We don't buy juice, but she does have it occasionally at Grandma's. We do buy soy and almond milk and she will ask for a glass of this about once every two weeks, but that is it. Oh, and she drink peppermint or chamomile tea. I would rather she gets nutrients from food sources and not fill up on juice.
Sadly, I think this is one of our biggest mistakes in parenting. Instead of introducing water which my son had a hard time with at first (he'd always choke on it - I read this is common), we began giving him watered down juice. Now he won't drink water.
He usually has at least one small box of rice milk a day - the enriched original flavor - and usually some juice. When we do use juice we use only organic berry or apple juices and we do about 1/3 juice 2/3 water in the cup. He very very rarely will drink a "juice box" if we are at the park or somewhere else where I don't have a cup. We encourage the rice milk more than anything else that he drinks.
I am in the same boat that you are. We have "juice kids" as well. When I think about how much juice we buy in a week I ~cringe~ (and I do own a very dusty juicer!!). This thread has given me the motivation to change, though. I think that starting tomorrow I will start diluting the juices more and more until my kids are just drinking water. We do use far too much of the stuff!!
We're trying to get back to mainly water. I have come to believe that beverages are for hydration, not nutrition. So we're trying to get back to mainly water for ourselves and our son. However, since he won't touch most calcium and vitamin C foods, he does get some calcium-fortified OJ every day. I think the milk thing is basically like someone said--a really convoluted breastmilk subsitition problem. It all comes back to child-led weaning and whole-foods diets being the best.
Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium. You could just sprinkle them on his food. They're really easy to hide in soups and salads, veggie burgers, just about anything.
We drink a LOT of juice and rice milk. The boys almost never drink water. I water their juice down 50% and rice milk (unenriched) is mostly water anyway, but they won't drink water and frankly, I'm not upset - our water has too much flouride in it anyway. I make a chai tea that they both drink (when it is cold), but other than that it is 50% water and 50% juice. They don't drink much during the day though. I'd say maybe 8oz of milk in cereal and maybe 12-16oz of water/juice or milk throughout the day.
Thank you for all your insight. I brought this up because as I was discussing it with my other friends and we (dh and I) found that we felt we were using way too much juice in our house. I myself don't have a problem with it, I drink one glass a day some days and then green tea or water. My dh is in a league of his own with his cokes but is down to 2 a day (he was drinking up to 6!). I too am slowing starting to wean my son off the juice. I tried the water today and he really didn't want to much to do with it and had fun spitting it on the floor. So I am going to start watering down his juice instead and still offer the water.