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Water: How to Encourage Children to Drink

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health , Tags: dehydration, drinking, fluids, health, juice, liquid, milk, water

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When the weather is hot, it is relatively easy to encourage little ones to take in plenty of fluids with cold drinks, ice cream and lollies to keep them hydrated; but in the cooler weather, it's less obvious that your child may be getting dehydrated. Consuming water is so important, more so than eating food.

Water is vital for life.

  • It regulates the body temperature
  • It helps flush body waste in the form of urine
  • It is required for transporting nutrients throughout the body
  • It helps maintain a good weight
  • It helps avoid constipation and urinary infections
  • It helps digest food and absorb the nutrients from your food
  • It increases your energy levels

How much to drink:

  • Children aged 1-3 need just under 1 1/2 litres each day, although not exclusively in drink form as this includes the liquid consumed in food

How to encourage them to drink:

  1. Encourage little and often.  Offer them cups of water each time you have a drink.
  2. Drink in front of them to show you do it too!
  3. Give older children a little plastic jug to pour their own drinks.
  4. Try new drinks: peach or grape juice (watered down by 1/2) is unusual and tasty.
  5. Make sure there is water and milk available at pre-school or nursery.  Encourage your child to have a drink while away from home too.
  6. Find some fun 'sippy' cups or drinking straws to make it more fun for toddlers.
  7. Offer warm milk, chilled water, cool juice so vary the temperature.
  8. Feed liquid based foods: yoghurt, soups, etc.
  9. Eat juicy fruits like watermelon and pears.

Free School Milk Is Here To Stay!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Child Development, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: bones, calcium, free, healthy, milk, preschool, under 5s

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All children under five will continue to have the chance to get free milk in preschool settings according to the recent announcement from Downing Street.  The Government has confirmed that 1/3 pint of milk will be given to all under fives who attend a day care setting.

It had been reported that Anne Milton, UK Health Minster, intended to scrap the scheme on the grounds of cost.  It currently costs around £50m (double what it was five years ago).  By 2011/12 it is expected to cost around £59m a year.  Instead of providing milk, the value of Health Start vouchers were to be increased, which would help the poorest families rather than all under fives no matter what their parent's income level.

Milk is vital to children's development.  It contains vitamins and minerals that are important for growth and development as well as calcium which is important for healthy teeth and bones.

However, Downing Street has confirmed that free milk is set to stay!

Health Aspects of Breast Feeding

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Parenting, Health, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: baby, breastfeeding, health, milk

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It has been claimed that if 90% of American women breast fed their new babies for at least six months, that the lives of 900 babies would be saved every year.  According to the research published in the Pediatrics journal, breastfeeding for these vital first six months could avoid health problems and actually save billions of dollars inmedical expenses.

The leading author of the paper, said the link has been "vastly under-estimated".  When you add up the medical costs associated with the ten most frequent childhood ailments and the cost associated with treating them, plus the hours away from work that parents have to take in order to look after their sick child.

The composition of breast milk is very complex and ideally suited to the needs of new babies.  It contains antibodies (that help fight infection), it affects insulin levels in the blood (which means babies are less likely to develop diabetes) and breastfed babies are less likely to develop obesity.


43% of American women breastfeed their babies to start with.  12% breast feed for as long as 6 months.

In Britain, the statistics are even less impressive.  76% of new mums breastfeed at the start and only 2% go up to six months.  It seems that as soon as they encounter problems, they are advised to get a bottle and feed with a formula rather than getting the support and help required to overcome problems and continue feeding naturally.

In Austrailia about 18% of new mothers are still feeding at six months.

The World Health Organisation recommends that ALL babies are breastfed until six months.


Many mothers, especially young mothers feel uncomfortable feeding especially when out and about.  But, it needn't be so.  There are so many tops designed for "easy access" and a muslin thrown over a shoulder while feeding can give ample cover and thus protect the modesty of any mum.  Once mums are confident at feeding, then doing it in public becomes second nature and should be encouraged!


Breastfeeding is also a wonderful way to bond with your child in a unique and special way. A few moments of calm, spent close to each other while having a lovely warm cuddle.

After all, breast feeding is the most natural and beautiful thing in the world for a new mum to do!



Should you Introduce your Baby to Cow's Milk?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Health, Child Development, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: balanced diet, cows milk, healthy diet, milk, milk alternatives

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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that babies are exclusively breast fed for 6 months, with supplemental breast milk being given for two years - whether you achieve this or not, there comes a point when you want to introduce cows milk.  Accepted advice is that cow's milk shouldn't be introduced into your baby's diet until they reach 1 year, and because it lacks manyof the nutrients found in formula milk (particularly iron) that you must balance a healthy diet with solid foods to supplement vitamins and minerals.

Cow's milk has long been a staple of Western diet although in recent times it has stirred up some controversy.  Look online and you'll find plenty of debate surrounding milk as to whether it is an important part of our diet or not.  There has been increased instance of dairy intolerance in our populations, factory farming has undoubtedly reduced the quality of milk over the last 50 years, and there is lots of research suggesting that milk is actually bad for us.  If that is what science tells us as adults, is it wise for children to be given cows milk at all?

Common sense would suggest that milk cannot be overly harmful or dangerous, and that if it forms a part of a balanced diet, then it is difficult to dispute that the nutrients in milk can offer anything but good.  If you prefer not to introduce your children to cow's milk then there are alternatives.  If you think your baby may be lactose intolerant then you can try goat or buffalo milk as popular alternatives.  Goat's milk does contain lactose but seems to be fine for people who suffer intolerance, nutritionally it is very similar to cows milk.  Buffalo milk is even more nutritious.

If you wish to give your baby a vegetarian diet then you can use soya or rice milk which are widely consumed as healthy alternatives to cow's milk. They contain less fat and fewer calories and research suggests that they may assist in preventing cancers.


Keep Drinking Throughout the Day!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Babies, Health, Preschool Children, Food, Drink and Eating, Childminders and Childminding , Tags: beakers, drinking, milk, water

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A baby requires around 500ml (18oz) liquid a day, a young child requires up to 1½l (50oz) per day - here are some tips to ensure your young children ges the fluid they require each day...

  • encourage toddlers to drink from a beaker by having them play with one and becoming familiar with it; make sure they have a beaker with drink on them throughout the day
  • liquid is ingested with food, not just through drink; if your kids aren't drinking enough, particularly in hot days, boost their liquids with ice lollies, water melon, jelly and other water intensive foods
  • add novelty to drinking; give your kids a straw, if they are used to straws, buy them a mug with a bendy straw! If they tire of straws, time to give them a sports bottle
  • use grown up drinking implements - try open beakers, a cup and saucer or your own mugs, again they will adore the novelty
  • Avoid too many sweet drinks or too much fruit juice; try to encourage your kids to drink milk and water, reserve fruit juices, cordials and soft drinks for treats


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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