Warm Beverages for Babies + Toddlers
It’s getting cold outside, which means it’s time for warm beverages. But can babies and toddlers have warm beverages, too? Yes! With the below ideas you can keep your little ones warm and cozy while trying a few new tastes.
Babies: Developmentally, we start to teach open-cup drinking between 4-6 months of age and straw cup drinking between 9-15 months. During these stages of swallowing development, babies can try a variety of liquid temperatures (frozen, cold, room temperature) as well as warm temperature. Here are a few ideas to try with your little one:
- Warm Breastmilk + Formula: Most of the families I work with only offer cold or room temperature breastmilk (or formula) when they introduce their baby to a cup. When learning to drink from an open cup or straw cup, some babies need sensory encouragement by changing up the temperature of the liquid.
- Warm Lemon Water: Since young babies should not drink water (due to the medical risk to their kidneys or swallowing difficulties with a thin liquid) I introduce water around 10 months of age. By then, their kidneys are fully developed and they have had months of successful drinking with thicker liquids (e.g., breast milk, formula, fresh smoothies and thin or thick purees). But water can get boring real fast for active babies, so changing up the taste and temperature is key!
- Expert Tip: To make lemon water, all you have to do is squeeze the juice from one lemon wedge into the Tiny Cup and add an ounce of warm water. Ta-da – you have a cozy new drink to serve! This exposes your baby to an important new taste (sour) and can also help ease tender gums if the baby is teething.
Toddler: Developmentally, a toddler should be able to drink independently from an open cup (with minimal spillage) around 12 months of age. And having a warm liquid treat can encourage them to practice their drinking skills. Here are two beverages to try with your tot:
- Warm Vanilla Milk: Now that your baby is a toddler, you are adding whole cow milk to their diet. During this transition, I often see parents offer hot chocolate as the only warm milk option during cold weather. I like to encourage parents to try warm vanilla milk as an alternative to sugary hot chocolate.
- Expert Tip: You can buy vanilla milk and heat it up or you can make a homemade version. My DIY vanilla milk recipe is simple and fast! Just warm up 3-4 oz of milk on the stovetop or microwave (soy or nut milk works too). Place the milk in the ezpz Mini Cup, add a few drops of vanilla extract and stir. Finish it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve.
- If you are concerned about a milk allergy, talk to your pediatrician before transitioning to cow milk.
- Chamomile Tea: Being Hispanic, I grew up with herbal teas (they are common in Mexico and embedded in our culture). As a toddler, I was often given chamomile tea before bed to decrease night terrors and elicit sleep. Having a small ‘tea party’ before bed became a common routine that I enjoyed and cherished.
- Expert Tip: This warm chamomile routine is a wonderful way to expose your toddler to an earthy and floral taste. All you need to do is boil a pot of tea using a chamomile tea bag (instead of loose tea) to avoid any stems or particles your tot could choke on. Let the tea cool, pour it into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Before bed, add a frozen tea cube, a squeeze of orange and a few ounces of hot water to their cup.
- Chamomile tea is an herbal tea that is commonly used with children across the globe. But it’s always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician before trying an herbal remedy.
Adding warm drinks to your mealtime rotation (or nighttime routine), can make new tastes and temperatures more fun for the whole family! What are some warm beverages your family enjoys together? #ezpzfun
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 28 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating tendencies. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning feeding products.