Q&A: baby's fluid intake

E writes:

"Hi. I'm not sure if I am worrying over nothing, but am a little concerned about my baby's fluid intake.

She is 7mths old. I give her a bottle when she wakes up at 7 and she drinks 210ml or 7fl oz. She has a solid breakfast about 9am and then I can usually get her to take another one of those early afternoon/lunch time, she has normally two jars of solid food at lunch a sweet and savoury or some blended veg I make for her. Tea about five which is also solids normally two jars. I then used to give her another one the same before I put her to bed but the last three nights she has refused that.

The times I have tried to offer her water she wont take it and I have been trying to spoon feed her baby juice as she won't drink it from a bottle let alone a beaker."

I'm not sure if I'm exactly understanding all the facts, but it sounds like you're saying she has three 7-ounce bottles a day and three big meals of solids.

I think for a 7-month-old this is a really high ratio of solids to formula. Since the guideline now is not to start solids until around 6 months, and we know that breastmilk or formula is supposed to be a baby's main source of nutrition and calories up to a year, it seems like she's eating too many solids and not enough formula.

To remedy this, you should offer a bottle before you offer solids. Even if she only drinks a few ounces before moving on to the solids she's still getting the good fat and calories of the bottle, plus the fluids. She has the rest of her life to eat solids, but this window of getting the high nutrient density of the bottle is very short and there's no need to rush her out of it.

Also, there's no need for juice, especially at this age. It can cause diarrhea or constipation, plus it's just empty calories. If you're concerned about her other intake, giving juice can backfire by making her less likely to drink formula.

I think backing off and offering her less food and more bottles every day will help ease your mind and get her intake back into balance.