Toddler Drinks: Explained

Take a trip down the supermarket aisle and you’ll see lots of drinks labelled for children. While many of them may look good, some contain added sugars. Read below for a list of drinks to pick and to skip!

Pick often

  • Water – one of the best choices to give your little one. Try adding slices of lemon or orange if your tot finds plain water boring!
  • Milk – is a suitable drink for toddlers however cow’s milk is not recommended as a main drink until 12 months of age and semi-skimmed milk is not suitable as a main drink until your little one is 2 and skimmed milk isn’t suitable until they are 5 years old. Cow and Gate growing up milk is also a suitable drink for toddlers at this stage as it has been tailored specially to meet the key nutrients which are lacking in the diets of pre-school children (i.e. iron and vitamin D).

Pick occasionally

  • Unsweetened pure fruit juice can be a source of vitamin C. But if you’re giving this to your little one make sure to dilute it well (1 part juice mixed with 5-10 parts water).
  • Smoothies – these drinks shouldn’t be used to quench your toddler’s thirst and should be used occasionally as a snack or as part of a meal. Shop bought smoothies can contain added sugar so try making your own using your little one’s favourite fruit and vegetables.


  • Fruit juices and fizzy drinks – these should be avoided as they can contain sugar or artificial sweeteners which can damage your little one’s teeth.
  • Tea and coffee – are unsuitable for toddlers as they contain caffeine which can affect the absorption of iron.