Refusing bottles - enough liquids?

I wonder if my 6 1/2 month old is getting enough liquids. I just returned to work and she's refusing formula from the bottle. Her day usually goes: nurse at 5:00am and 7:30am, cereal and fruit at 9:30am, cereal and veggie at noon, nurse or bottle of breast milk (she's never taken more than 4 oz) at 2:30pm, nurse at 5:30pm, cereal, veggie and fruit at 7:00pm, and last nursing at 8:30. The morning, after work and bedtime nursing seem hearty, but who knows... Her stools are normal and she's content during the day.

She's a small baby, but normal, and was born at 36 wks. It's so different from my first child, who drank 2-3 bottles of formula during the day at the same age. Should I worry?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Cynthia,

One way to determine if your daughter is getting enough fluids is to check her output. You mentioned that her stools are normal, which is a good sign. Hard stools that are difficult to pass is a sign of too few fluids. Now notice her urine output. Is she wetting several diapers a day? Is the urine a pale yellow? If her diapers are seldom wet, and when they are, if the urine is dark yellow and has a concentrated odor, then you have an indication that you need more fluids in her diet.

Your description of her daily intake sounds adequate from a fluid standpoint. Remember, fruits and vegetables contribute a great deal of liquids to her diet. Also, she is nursing several times a day and getting lots of liquid there. You may want to try offering her other fluids besides formula that she can sip on during the day. Let her have access to plenty of water, and perhaps try a little juice diluted 50/50. Don't offer more than 4 ounces of juice a day, but those four ounces can be diluted to whatever amount she will take.

Offer the juice in a sippy cup in order to help her developmentally, and to avoid becoming trapped in the habit of having to have a bottle of juice to carry around all day. I think you will find that between your nursing, the solids, and proper access to water your daughter will be well hydrated and you have no need to worry.

Thank you for writing.

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