Leading medical and nutrition organizations recommend breast milk, infant formula, water, and plain milk as part of a new set of comprehensive beverage recommendations for children aged 0–5. The groups caution against beverages with lots of added sugar such as flavored milks and sugar-sweetened juices, and non-dairy milks.
The recommendations were developed as part of a collaboration facilitated by Healthy Eating Research between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Some of the highlights from the report include:
- Young infants aged 0–6 months should drink only breast milk or infant formula, avoiding any other types of milk, juice, or drinks with caffeine and added sugar.
- Babies aged 6–12 months should still rely on breast milk or formula but may be slowly introduced to sips of water once solid foods have been incorporated into the diet.
- Children aged 12–24 months should drink 1–4 cups of water daily. They can also drink 2–3 cups of plain, pasteurized whole milk but should limit 100% fruit juices.
- Children aged 2–3 years should drink 1–4 cups of water daily and transition to plain, pasteurized skim or low-fat milk. They should limit 100% fruit juice and avoid flavored milks.
- Children aged 4–5 years old should drink 1.5–5 cups of water daily, stick to skim or low-fat milks, and limit 100% fruit juices. They should continue avoiding flavored milks, caffeinated beverages, and plant-based milks.
To learn more, read the report here.