63 answers

What to Give Toddler to Drink?

I'm curious what other moms give their kids to drink. I trying to cut back on juices that have a lot of sugar or colored drinks, since I'm finding little pink spots all over my carpet. Any suggestions? What do you give to drink besides milk?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the responses! I'm excited to see that kids do eventually adapt to drinking pure water if you keep trying. Right now, I'm mixing Nestle's splash of fruit water with filtered water. But look forward to getting him down to just water. Also, I'm going to try some teas, coconut milk (as a treat) and maybe even the milk from blended raw nuts. Yall are so healthy! Look forward to being that kind of mom someday.

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I give my toddler lots of water. She loves it!!! I also give Light Apple Juice. Water is the best.

It's never too early for H2O! There are many 'Pedialyte' types of water with xtras thrown in just for baby & kidz...Homemade lemonade (with Splenda if sugar is an issue) is always good...Tea is good as well for tummies...you can grow lemongrass and make iced tea from it (YUM) and my kidz LOVE pomegranate & green tea iced, although THAT doesn't help with the pink spots!!!!!!



If you raise them on water, they'll have great drinking habits later on. That's what my kids drink all day long. The only milk they drink is occasional almond milk or rice milk. Hope this helps.

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In my home daycare, I give all the children (ages one and up) as much water as they want all day long (except meals, at which I serve milk). Usually when a child comes to my home, at first, they turn their nose up at water because their parents have always given them juice (in the form of capri sun, 100% fruit juice, kool-aid ect...), but I offer water. When they don't take it, I say, "okay, you don't want it?" Then I set it up on the counter. MOST kids will drink the water after three or four times of realizing that's all I am offering and I'm NIOT changing my mind. For that rare child who would rather cry and scream than drink anything except juice, I start them out by dilluting the juice a little (as much as I can without them resisting). Then after I have them used to that, I dillute it some more, and more and more until they will drink water alone.
In any case, I've been taught through my Food rogram training that children do not need to drink anything except milk (at meals) and water.

1 mom found this helpful

Herbal iced/sun tea: I just throw a tea bag in a quart mason jar and put it in the sun. Usually we do elderberry tea from Avita (good for immune system), or celesatial Seasonings Sleepytime tea. I think Bigelow has a bedtime tea with roughly the same ingredients. chamomile tea or peppermint tea would be good too. One bag to one mason jar means it's not too strong in flavor, just right for toddlers. no sugar. These flavors taste pretty good on their own. The herbs i mention are safe for kids. Some herbs in tea form might not be recommended for kids...
We don't drink cow's milk, but my daughter has enjoyed rice milk or soy milk in the past. she seemed to get bored of that, so I don't buy it anymore. sometimes i make milk by taking soaked (and rinsed) raw nuts like pecans, almonds, and walnuts and blending them in a blender with water. I may add a couple drops of vanilla extract which adds a little sweetness too. And then you have to strain it. It's yummy. Good in cereal too.
As for juice, when we serve it to her, we cut it with water, about a 50/50 ratio.
I just looked at some of the other folks responses. Gatorade and Crystal Light are not healhty choices for your toddler. They contain ingredients that are not food, like artificial sweeteners thought to cause cancer, artificial colors thought to cause hyperactivity... Try to feed your child only things that will make him/her healthy. If you don't know what's healthy, start doing your research. And read labels.
Saw someone mention drinkable yogurts. Most yogurt products marketed for kids have too much sugar in them. I suggest using plain goat yogurt or cow yogurt and add your own fruit to sweeten. We use frozen organic blueberries. (non organic blueberries are very high in pesticides).

1 mom found this helpful


100% juice (like Juicy Juice) and water/plain tap....it's regulated and good for you---usually has fluoride...I'm a dental assistant and public school teacher.....Many patients ask about diet and cavities.....vary your food/drinks and watch out for sugary ingredients....even 100% juice has of course fruit sugar called fruitose but it is less syrupy and better for you.
----Some pediatricians are wary because of alergies and reactions to artificial sweetners....also an added benefit is look for no colorings added. It's rare but some people are highly allergic to red dye found in a lot of drinks and medicines. My son is one of them....Since I'm in the medical field I have patients who can not have flavored pumis that we use to clean your teeth. It must be plain. Dye allergies can cause rashes, irritability, and more.
Your pediatrician might have a list for you or dentist. Most preventive dentist ask that after dinner you don't have milk or juice too often or right before your children go to bed...the particles collect between the teeth and cause decay while you sleep. Hope this helps. Oh, Watch out for corn syrup in the ingredient list....of course some times on occassion is fine.
good luck. D. g.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

I typically give my children low sugar/light juices. I always make sure that not only are they light in sugar, they are light in color...apple juice, and white grape juice, cran-peach...etc. After I fill their cups, I add about 20-30% water. 100% juice fills them up and then they don't want to eat. Also, my kids love Crystal Light. We drink alot of Crystal Light lemonade, kiwi stawberry, and orange. It is sugar free, easy to make, and you can make popsicles out of it. For on the go, they drink Capri Suns or Minute Maid pouches. They are light too. Hope this helps!

I started giving my daughter just plain bottled water when she was a toddler. She is 5 now and will ask for it over anything else. I will give juice on occasion, but never started it on a regular basis, so she really never asks for it.

fruit splashers purified water by graduates for toddlers or you could even do the crystal light thing my kids thought it was kolaid and the only thing that has is coloring

Hi Mellisa
Have you ever tried water or diluting the juices.I did this with my daughter she only got something other than water at meal times and that rule still applies today.
Hope this helped have a wonderful day
J. Mother and full time Doula

i give my daughter water, she loves it. sometimes i give her luke warm chamile tea at night to relax her.

It's never too early for H2O! There are many 'Pedialyte' types of water with xtras thrown in just for baby & kidz...Homemade lemonade (with Splenda if sugar is an issue) is always good...Tea is good as well for tummies...you can grow lemongrass and make iced tea from it (YUM) and my kidz LOVE pomegranate & green tea iced, although THAT doesn't help with the pink spots!!!!!!


I like to give my daughters water. Sometime they won't drink it, so I put cubes of colorful jello in it. They like the colors so much, they don't care its water anymore. Just make sure the lid is on tight.:)

water, water, water. It's good to get them trained to drink it now. My son use to drink it really well, but then he got sick with the rotavirus and we had to give him juice to prevent dehydration, and now water is harder to get him todrink. But he still drinks it--right now he likes it with ice.

Drinking tap water or fluorinated water is important for their teeth.

I give him either milk, water or watered-down juice by at least 1/2. And he pretty much only gets white grape juice or apple (keeping the stains down). I also give him watered-down lemonade on occasion.

My son's room had coolaid measles. Red dyes Never come out!!
I switched to wood floors. Water is stainless,tea omes out,Save staining drinks for out side only. Decaf diet drinks like pepsi/coke don't stain, We had a diabetic house hold due to my sister and diet drinks except Diet Rite did not exhist. We watered

Congratulations. I began my family late also after many years of singleness. It was so thrilling to have three little girls who are now grown up and have families of their own.
I am really into health and have seen first hand as a school teacher some of the craziness that comes from unhealthy eating and drinking. In addition, I have lived long enough to watched the transition from healthy food and drinks to non foods that are being advertized and sold as foods today. I was very careful about what I let my children have. If you are interested, check out sites like Mercola.com, Dr. Hull, the health ranger, and from there you will find others. You need to filter through their info just as you do most. However, they have a mountain of knowlege on what is healthy to eat and drink.
My drink of choice for my children and grandchildren is pure water.

My grand daughters doctor suggested Crystal Light products. no sugar and lots of water

I give my toddler lots of water. She loves it!!! I also give Light Apple Juice. Water is the best.


If you raise them on water, they'll have great drinking habits later on. That's what my kids drink all day long. The only milk they drink is occasional almond milk or rice milk. Hope this helps.

I give my daughter natural juices. And tons of water. Mine hates milk. Or what about flavored water. Good luck! Jen

My 18 month old enjoys water as much as she does juice. Spot shot Is the best for little pink stains.

I guess I'm fortunate that my daughter still loves milk. Although I buy her bottled water I get from the grocery store that has floride in it and a cap that she can't get off without super powers. I also like the Motts for Tots juice boxes. Although she just have a habit of spilling a bit, I go for the white grape one as it is less apt to stain. Hope that helps!

Hi M., I put a jug of fresh water in the frig and they like it cold best. I have had to make many changes as my children were addicted to apple juice but have adjusted and are fine! LOL

We don't do the dairy thing .. I don't need the hyperactivity or illnesses associated with it. We do live juices and water. Mostly water. They can have other drinks during mealtimes; otherwise it's water.

Hi M., I read all the repsonses and you have received some great ideas. I am a family health and wellness consultant and I'd like to add my suggetions as well.

Stop "TRYING to cut back on sugary drinks" and just STOP. Bad for teeth, bad for brains, bad all around. If you must serve something packaged, water it down, 1 part juice to 5 parts water.

Water is always best. Stay away from certain bottled waters (if it comes from the 2 major Cola comapanies, it can't be good water! LOL!) Freeze some 100% organic juice into ice cubes and add about 2 to an 8 ounce glass. Any more than that and the sugar is out of control.

Blend any fruit - well washed - (organic is best) and freeze it in an ice-cube tray as well. Place in a glass of water. It makes a great "floating treat" while you kids get the benefits of the fruit.

Dairy is hard on the body to digest, please use it it moderation.

Smoothies are great, but do not use milk (fills your kids up with empty calories). Water, ice, and any fruit is wonderful.

I have some wonderful nutritional products for kids to ensure that you are giving yoru kids the very best.

Know that it is up to you to ensure your kids are well supported nutritionally. If you would like more info, consualtations are always free.

B. B.A.; B.Ed.

Hi M.,

I gave my boys a mixture of apple juice and water, 50%/50%, to dilute the sugars. Apple juice almost "blends" with most carpeting and is easy to clean up since it a neutral color to begin with. Water, of course, is good but a bit boring for some kids. One of my sons hated "plain old water", so I added a touch of lemon, lime, orange, apple, or whatever fresh fruit I had in the house. My son loved it, especially because I would let him help squeeze the piece of fruit to make a "homemade" drink.

Good Luck,


I push as much tap water as possible. Put for a nice treat, I will add about a shotglass full of juice to their 8 oz cup for some flavor. Milk usually with meals. And drinks only in the kitchen or outside (the only drink outside the kitchen is the occasional sippy cup of water next to the bed at bedtime to curve off the attempt to postpone bedtime).

I noticed that the Gerber 100% juices (on the bottom of the baby aisle) seem to have nearly HALF the sugar content than regular fruit juices do. So I am still buying the baby juice.

I give mostly water. I do give crystal light, apple juice, pineapple orange banana juice, V8, V8 Fuision, V8 splash. All except the V8's are watered down.
I have some capri sun's, but those are rare occassions. And when we're on the road it's water in a sippy cup. When we stop at any place to eat it's usually apple juice. And he loves drinking from the box so I don't get to dilute that, but that is also a rare occassion.
You can also try some pediasure every now and then. Or ovaltine. Those are sort of like little milkshakes so it would be interpreted as a treat for them.
I, myself, don't even drink undiluted juices very often. It's too much sugar and too strong a taste so I can't imagine why a young child would need full strength juice. Make sure when you're buying it that it doesn't say Fruit Juice Cocktail because that's only about 10% juice. Cranberry juice is bad about that.

I give my daughter V-8 Splash and she loves it and she gets her serving of fruit and veggies from it. I also give her water and she loves it. :-) Keep giving it and they begin to love it and it is so good for them. :-)

Froose. It's made of the best organic whole grains and fruit which is a perfect alternative to juices loaded with sugar. Froose comes in small beverage boxes with a straw attached so it's easy for your little one to handle.

I gave my kids water and it really did help out alot

Water, water, water. With a tiny bit of juice mixed in just for taste!

Water, milk, or gatorade

My three year old (almost four) and one year old(too close to two) love glasses of Ice Water. They feel so grown up with their "Big" girls cups. I may have to clean water off the floor occasionally, but it gets them transitioned some for the "Big" girl cup with other drinks too. I also still dilute my juice half water, half juice. We only use juices like Juicy Juice and Motts which have little to no coloring in them to stain. Milk sometimes gets varied with Chocolate or Strawberry syrup...but they only get this in the sippy cup still. Good luck!

my kids only drink milk & water. We also do fruit smoothies in the morning, but that's it. Maybe occasional fruit juice as a really special treat, but i don't like to give them much juice since (even though it's 'fruit') it's really just another form of sugar. they're better to have the whole thing (it takes up to 5 oranges to make a glass of orange juice..so you're getting all that sugar but none of the fiber). My kids won't really eat fruit though, thus the smoothie. it's the whole fruit, in a form they'll consume!

Since Milk and Juice are fillers (meaning they fill kids up) I suggest not making the same mistake I did. Start your toddler drinking water now!!! Otherwise he will become hooked on Milk and Juice and not like water. If you want to give him juice-Dilute it and stick with fruit/veggie juices. Good Luck

Water! Milk or soy with meals.

Beware of flavored waters - many use artificial sweetners. I don't serve juice - best source of fruit in diet is the real thing.

Loved reading the responses - happy to see so many healthly moms out there:)

Hi! I give my 2 year old lots of Aquafina flavored water...he loves it and it has just a few calories and no color!!

I'm a fan of Capri Sun. They don't put any color in their drinks (which is great for the carpet). And now, they have the flavored water which is low calorie.

Hi M.,
I have 3 boys and I know they used to carry their sippy cups everywhere! I give them clear gatorade and water. My 2 oldest boys are 6 and 9 and they still love to drink water and it's much better for them. We have totally cut all sugarry drinks in our house. It's water, crystal light drinks and milk.

How about just some good ole' H2O works wonders!! It's easy for clean up if it spills (no more spots) and it's the best natural liquid for not only hydration but digestion.

I am a mother of 4 kids 12, 10, 4 and 2 and a business owner in Jacksonville. I feel that kids eat and drink what's bought for them and what they can find in the pantry. I choose to buy nothing other than milk and water and orange juice but mainly have it for breakfast. I have found that the kids will gravitate to the water finding it to be the only thing that actually quenches their thirst. Juices are loaded in sugar which the body stores as fat but doesn't really quench the thirst and so you drink more. However, in the summer the kids love to have my iced tea but there again with little sugar and using decaf tea bags is very refreshing. Good luck:)

Toddlers need 16 oz of milk per day and no more than 8oz of juice. My son gets milk with his meals and juice cut with water throughout the day so that way he gets his juice and water too! Your best bet is going to be juice that is 100% juice like Juicy Juice. They also make a great product called Nature's Harvest that is fruit and veggie juice. It even has a small amount of protein and fiber.

My son drinks water and occasionally he gets decaf green tea. He enjoys hot tea as well.

I give my two year old Diet V-8 juice. Its nothing but pure vegetable and fruit juice. Don't buy the regular V8 juice as it has corn syrup in it. The Diet V8 has been loved by the toddlers and older kids as well. I also dilute organge juice and give that to him as well.

Hi M.~Little pink spots?!lol!! How bout a huge red 1!lol Its in the playroom, almost behind the door!lol I give my babes orange juice>juicy juice>wylers light>gatorade>Water>>My son is 5 & my daughter will soon b 2>With the juices, if you do 1/2juice 1/2water, thats good 2! Blessings 2 you @ your babies!

Try Aquapods, they're bottled water in little round bottles. Right now the ones in the stores have soccer balls, basketballs etc on them, so they're pretty appealing to kids. I don't want to buy them over and over, so I'm just going to recycle them and use them with my filtered water. And like some other people said, I was told by the pediatrician not to bother with juice.

But...if you still want juice, how about the Motts for Tots? It's basically watered down juice in a very small serving, so the sugar is much lower than regular juice. And they have a white grape/apple flavor, so it's a light color that wouldn't show up very much on your carpet.

One more thing, try Spot Shot to get out the pink stains on your carpet, it took the bright red Pedialyte stains out of my carpet. It comes in a can, you can get it at Publix.

What about water, white grape juice, apple juice

I have always given my son about 1/4 juice and 3/4 water. That way he doesn't get so many calories. He never took to water. And had a lot of constipation problems. So that is why he drinks juice. And yes, I get some spots too. So now I make sure the cups don't leak each time before I give them to him. I did get the other day a white cranberry juice that wouldn't show stains if your cup leaks.

I have always given my children juicy, juice to drink. However, until my daughter turned 4 I gave her a half and half mixture. Half juice and half water. She never complained. I now have a son and I do the same for him. I also started giving him water once a day.It is all he gets to drink until it is gone. It was a little bit of a battle at first but now he asks for water. They even have the flavor packets with crystal light in them but be careful to only use this product as a special treat or that is all they will drink.
Good Luck hope this helps.

I always gave my boys water, unless it was snack time or mealtime, then they sat at the table with it. It might take children a little while to get used to it, but water is great and doesn't rot teeth or stain carpets!

I just usually give DD water and cows milk (and she still nurses a few times a day). Every once in a while she will get a juice box. I never give her colored sugar drinks, just because they aren't good for her.

I give my son Fruit 2 Go- a springwater with flavors like grape, orange, tropical fruit (his favorite). I buy by the case at Sam's club for $9.00. Its not as sweet or high in calories like juice but does have splenda.

Water, water, water. I put ice in it, too. We acually call it "agua" so he doesn't confuse it with bath water, which he is not allowed to drink! Juice is a treat he mostly only gets at birthday parties and grandma's house

You can give herbal teas (like Celestial Seasonings and many others that don't have caffeine) with a little honey or sugar. Raw honey is actually healthy, and a bit of sugar is also ok (any juice will also have sugar, if only natural fruit sugars.) They taste great and have many health benefits as well (some improve digestion, some are calming, etc.) Good luck :-)

I have always done just water or milk, but on occasion, I will put cucumbers or lemon slices in a pitcher and serve that. I am starting juice but only give the V8 Fusion. It seems really healthy with full serviings of fruits and vegetables.

Oh,and also I will mix 1/2 organic whole milk with Stonyefarms drinkable yogurts. He loves that too.

my kids are 18 mos. and almost 3, and I just give them water since that's what I drink!

Water, water, water! The habits they build now really do stick with them. I stayed home for the first four years with my children, and this was a topic I felt strongly about because I do not have good habits. It is something I wanted to instill in them. At eight, one of my daughters will still choose ice water over almost anything else, and she hates soda. My other daughter, nine, also loves water, though she has discovered other alternatives on a limited basis. They are conscious about making healthy choices, and drinking adequate amounts of water plays a huge part in that.

My kids only drank apple juice and milk. I would fill their sippy with about 1/3 apple juice and the rest with water. Just enough to give them the taste. That really cut down on the sugar content (and the stains!)

I am a big water fan. As far a juice, try to stay with 100% juice. You can try white grape or apple (both light in color).

My children and nephew drink water.
They also drink soy milk/regular milk one time a day as part of a snack or with breakfast.
Hope this helps.

Water only. It's the only option in our home. Good luck as I realize this could be a rough transition! Juice is yummy!

Not sure how it will help your carpet, but I give mine Young Living's Ninxia Red (2 teaspoons a day to keep immune system in tip top shape and alkaline/cancer free) Odwalla SuperFood or Carrot Juice and water, Rice Milk, Almond Milk and Horizon Organic milk. We juice too, so you can throw whatever in a juicer. Superfood is good though and you can't taste the veggies in it!

WATER! I give water. Since she first started drinking anything other than b/m she's been on water. she may sip a juice once or twice but not more - she doesn't associate it with drinking, considers it a treat. Also I sometimes give her herbal teas - no suggar in them!!! iced or warm.

I refuese to give any of my children red juice. I rarely give them juice at all. I have three kids...8, 5, and 14 months. A small bottle of juicy juice lasts me more than a week. They don't need it. ALL juice is loaded with sugar, I don't care if it's 100% juice, read the label. Water is good for kids and if they are thirsty they will drink it. My kids get milk, water, and the very occasional juice (watered down 3 parts water and 1 part juice). I put small amounts of juice into my 1 year olds oatmeal for flavoring without regular sugar, but I quit doing that now and she eats it without the juice. Anyway, this is my personal opinion and I am not judging anyone, so please don't take it that way. I would just suggest that you're not letting your kids drink juice all day. It's terrible for their bodies and their teeth. It also creates a sugar addiction later in life...do your research!

Good for you for trying to cut out added sugar and additives such as colored drinks and excessive juices. All are bad for the child's overall development and teeth. Instead of concentrated juice try a real orange, grapes or other fruits that hold lots of natural water. Oh yes, and water of course. Clean healthy water. Fight the urge to give your kids sodas and packaged juices...period. Lots of water please. Give them a good start with healthy drinking choices.

Another thing to consider is coconut water as a treat. It's pure pleasure, no added sugars and chemicals healthy. Some moms I've seen actually had their kids 'hooked' on juice. Giving it to them all day and sometimes at night. And please no high fructose corn syrups or 'diet' or 'lite' drinks. All have chemicals and additives.

And please for the health of your child, no Splenda, or aspertame etc.

Number one, new rule. Only drink in the kitchen.

Number two, water is free and doesn't damage teeth.

Those sugar juices, etc., rot teeth.

Good luck

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