The Importance Of Water
Life's most important nutrient is water. For babies and toddlers, the need for water is critical as they need more fluids relative to their body size than adults do. Also, babies' and toddlers' kidneys have not developed the capacity to adjust quickly to extremes in body water, and their thirst mechanism doesn't kick in until they are already mildly dehydrated. Make sure your children get plenty of water, especially in the summer when the temperatures are warmer and fluid loss greater. A healthy, 22-pound, one-year-old needs 4 ¬? cups of fluid every day.
Pure water isn't the only way to get water. Water is the main component of most fluids and many foods. Because you may want to get your child to drink, even when he's not thirsty, you may have to make fluids a little more enticing. Here are some suggestions:
- Serve "liquid" foods at snacks and mealtimes. That includes things like pudding, yogurt and soup.
- Juice is a great way to get fluids, but you shouldn't serve it as liberally as water because too much can crowd out other important nutrients, so dilute the juice by 50% with water to make it go further. Give toddlers variety in beverages such as juice, milk and water. While 100% juice, especially organic juice contains important nutrients, it also has more sugar than you may want for your child.
- In the summertime, homemade 100% juice popsicles will hydrate a youngster. Make your own popsicles by mixing and freezing Earth's Best Apple and Pear Juices. For a child too young to hold or suck a popsicle, make scrapings of the frozen treat for your child to cool off with.
- Since fruits and vegetables contain mostly water they contribute to fluid intake: especially apples, berries, citrus fruits, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, other melons.
- Allow your child to use a fun sippy cup or sports bottle filled with water to encourage frequent drinking.
- Keep an eye out for early signs of dehydration: fewer wet diapers, less trips to the potty, dark yellow urine, a tongue that appears coated rather than wet, complaints of nausea or complaints of a headache. If you detect any of these, take immediate action by administering water or diluted juice. Sugary liquids may actually slow the absorption of the fluid.