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What’s Best for My Baby to Drink?

Medically reviewed by: Marlene Rafferty, RD

Breast milk or formula are the only drinks your baby needs in their first year of life. These drinks have all the right nutrients to help babies grow. (If your baby is 6 months or older, your doctor may also say it’s OK to give plain water.) If you have questions, ask your doctor.

What Drinks Are Not Good for Babies?

Stay away from drinks and foods that are not safe or lack nutrients. Some drinks make it hard for a baby to grow. Other drinks cause cavities or an unhealthy weight. And some drinks can make a baby very sick.

Babies shouldn't have:

  • 100% fruit juice
  • sugary drinks, like soda, sweet tea, sports drinks, lemonade, and punch
  • drinks made with artificial sweeteners (often labeled “zero-calorie”)
  • plain or flavored milk from cows, goats, or other animals
  • plain or flavored plant-based milks made from soy, almond, oat, rice, or coconut
  • drinks made with honey
  • cereal or food in their bottle
  • water (unless your baby is 6 months or older and your doctor says it’s OK)

When Can Babies Start a Drink Other Than Breast Milk or Formula?

When your baby turns 1, it’s time to offer whole cow’s milk in an open cup or straw cup.

If you have any questions about what’s safe for your baby to drink, ask your doctor.

Medically reviewed by: Marlene Rafferty, RD
Date reviewed: June 2023