As your baby becomes more established on solid foods, she’s likely to want less milk. But although she’s getting her nutrients elsewhere, you still need to make sure that she’s drinking enough to stay hydrated. There’s no cast iron guidance on how much she should drink at this age, but as long as she’s producing regular wet nappies, you can be sure that she’s getting enough.
Between the ages of nine to 12 months, your baby will probably gradually drop her daytime milk feeds, replacing them with snacks. Typically, she’ll be down to an 8oz bottle both morning and evening, with maybe one more in between. Breastfed babies may take longer to drop feeds, as they enjoy the comfort of feeding.
Don’t worry if your baby’s milk intake is dropping; this is a normal consequence of her upping the amount of solids she eats. As she approaches 12 months, food will take over from milk as her main source of nutrition. She still needs around a pint of milk a day, but if you’re struggling to get her to drink this amount, you can make it up with other calcium-rich foods like yoghurt and cheese.
You can still give your baby her milk feeds from a bottle, but if you’re offering milk during the day, now is a good time to start offering it in a cup. Dental experts recommend weaning your baby off bottles at 12 months old to avoid problems with her teeth, so it’s sensible to get her used to the change gradually. Remember, breastmilk and formula are the only milks suitable as a drink at this age – not cow’s milk.
During the day, you can give your baby water to drink instead of milk. This can be alongside meals and with a morning and afternoon snack to replace her milk feed. She may not drink much at first, and you may need to experiment with different types of cup until you find one that she can drink from. She’s likely to drink more in hot weather, if she’s been very active, or if she’s unwell with a cold or temperature. There’s no need to boil water for babies over six months, unless you’re making up formula; if you’re offering it on its own, you can pour it straight from the tap.
Juice can be a good source of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and can help to keep your baby hydrated if she’s dropping her milk feeds but isn’t keen on drinking water. But if you are giving juice, make sure it’s unsweetened and diluted. A rough guideline is to dilute one part juice with 10 parts water.