My mother likes to give my baby diet cola to drink. Is this bad?
A reader shares that her mother likes to give my 11 month old baby diet cola to drink. She wonders if this is bad for her baby.
Question from Reader:
My mother likes to give my 11 month old baby diet cola to drink. Is this bad?
Answer by Dr Nancy Tan:
Soft drinks – even the diet or lite versions – are very high in sugar or sugar substitutes, contain a range of chemicals including caffeine and are very low in nutritional value.
Toddlers and babies should not be consuming these sorts of drinks as part of their diet – even if they are watered down. The very sweet taste of soft drinks can make them appealing to children, and if your child has been drinking cola regularly, he or she may even begin to request it.
However, it’s important to remember that soft drink can be considered a form of ‘junk food’ and high consumption of these types of drinks can lead to obesity and other health-related problems as your child grows up. Offering your baby diet cola to drink does not encourage positive, healthy eating habits.
At that age, your baby should only be drinking breast milk, infant formula or water. Occasionally you may wish to offer your baby 100% fruit juice with no added sugar as an alternative. Even once your toddler becomes a child, soft drinks should only be consumed very occasionally for special occasions such as a birthday treat.
Answered by: Dr Nancy Tan, SBCC Baby and Child Clinic
About Dr Nancy Tan:
Dr Nancy Tan is a Consultant Paediatrician with more than 16 years of experience in the care of children, especially with chronic liver and gut diseases. Trained in the Paediatric Liver Centre, King’s College London, Dr Tan currently works at SBCC Baby & Child Clinic at Gleneagles Medical Centre, and is also a visiting consultant to the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital