Choosing Healthy Drinks for Your Young Child

child pouring milk into cup

Choose drinks that will help keep your child healthy. Many drinks have natural or added sugar. Children who are often given sugary drinks are more likely to have tooth decay (cavities). You might not even know you are giving your child drinks with sugar! Water or milk are the best drinks for your child.

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Tips for choosing healthy drinks for your child:

  • Breast milk is best. Breastfeed your child for 6 months or longer.
  • Give your child plain water with fluoride. Water from the tap (faucet) is safe and cheap.
  • Give your child milk at scheduled meal and snack times.
  • It is best not to put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup. If you do, the bottle or sippy cup should contain only water, nothing else.
  • Give your child cut-up or whole fruit instead of fruit juice.
  • If you give your child juice, wait until he is 6 months old. Offer your child no more than 4 to 6 ounces of 100-percent fruit juice each day. Serve juice in a cup.
  • If your child drinks from a sippy cup, it should contain only water or milk, nothing else. By age 12 to 14 months, most children can drink from a cup.

Do you know how much sugar is in each drink?

Teaspoons of sugar in each 4-ounce drink.

3 1/2
Grape juice
3 1/2
Apple juice
Fruit drink

2 1/2
Chocolate milk

Orange juice
1 1/2
Low-fat milk

Topic:Oral Health

Keywords:Child nutrition

Resource Type: Publication

Audience: Families

Last Updated: August 9, 2018