One of the most contentious parenting issues between my parents and I are over giving my baby cold water. From about six months old, when my baby Marcie was started on water and solids, I realised that she preferred cold water, refrigerated baby juice and fruit puree. My parents had always disagreed vehemently over the temperature of her food, even to go as far as suggesting it caused her eczema and low weight gain; both of which, I countered with (a) my baby whose eczema is triggered by heat really prefers cold stuff, and eating cold food is better than no food and (b) the low weight gain is due to abnormally high birth weight (heavy newborn at 4kg plus) and possibly, lack of good sleep.
So, is giving cold drinks to baby really that bad? My answer, if you do not believe in TCM, is no – drinking cold drink will mean that your baby needs to use energy to warm the liquid up, thus less energy for body functions. If you believe in TCM, the theory is that cold drink weakens your lungs, lowers your immune system and as my parents believe, causes asthma (which again is a myth). However, certain cold drinks (not due to the temperature) are indeed bad for your baby:
1. Soft drinks that contain caffeine, which is a trigger for eczema.
2. Sugary drinks that increase chance of tooth decay.
3. Artificially flavoured drinks which have been linked to ADHD.
As you can see in my baby bag, I always pack ice or cold drink (or both if going to the zoo). To me, if cold water can stop my baby from scratching, offer her (and me) some relief when dining out or when outdoors in a park/zoo, why not?