Hydration Information Part 2: (the how)

As promised earlier, this is the how of hydration, it was all too much for one post. (I’m really trying to cut back on epic informative posts…) Since we all know about water (or think we do) we will start there.  So heard the whole 8 glasses a day thing? Yeah right, since I can’t actually work in the potty I can’t do it. But Wait! It’s not 8 glasses of water! It’s fluid. Yeah, you know, the liquid in almost everything you consume during the day, that’s what keeps you hydrated, under normal circumstances. I found this really cool water needs calculator. I tried it and these are my results:

My regular day answer:

73 ounces of water today, or 2.2 liters.

If you eat a healthy diet, about 20 percent of your water may come from the foods you eat.

If you divide it up, I need about 7 glasses of water (or fluids) per day. Guess what? Coffee counts! (Score) Now, not as good as say water, or milk, or juice, but it totally counts! That’s right, it’s not a type-o, milk is a great rehydrater!

*Keep in mind that we are talking kids and adults here, for babies it depends on age and what your doctor says*

Those folks at the Mayo clinic have this to say regarding milk:

Milk offers both carbohydrate (lactose) and protein (whey and casein). When compared to sports drinks, low-fat milk, plain or chocolate, was equivalent or better for fueling, repairing and building muscle. The results were especially impressive when milk was used as a recovery or post-exercise beverage.

Brace yourself, I have to say it… Yup Milk totally does a body good! Ok, I’ll move on now. They also have recommendation for a homemade sports drink here.


Water is an obvious source for your daily fluid needs. Other good beverages include milk, herbal teas, low-sodium broth, 100-percent fruit and vegetable juices. Soft drinks will also count toward your daily total of fluid, just remember that sugar sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices add extra calories to you daily diet that you don’t need.

The familyfitness site adds:

You’ve probably heard the oft-repeated advice that you should drink 8 cups of water every day. Does the same rule apply to children? Yes and no. According to the Institute of Medicine (a division of the National Academy of Sciences, charged with advising the nation on health topics), most adults get all the liquids they need every day just by eating and drinking normally—with meals, and when they are thirsty. Any beverages, including caffeinated ones, count toward the daily fluid intake your body needs (which is closer to 10 cups than 8, by the way). Food, especially fruits and vegetables, contains water too.

Kids under 8 years old need a little less fluid than adults, but the advice is the same—they should drink healthy beverages with meals, plus sip water any time they are thirsty. Of course, if they are playing or exercising vigorously, or if it’s very hot outside, they’ll need more liquids to make up for what their bodies are losing to perspiration.

There we go with those electrolytes again, that the more than fluids that we need when we are in the hot, humid summer sun. This was a great chart (yay chart) for what foods have electrolytes in them naturally (aka the best way to get anything).

So if water is best, why not just guzzle the stuff, right? I like water, my kids like water, it is the best tasting thing in the world at times. Well there are a few things to keep in mind:

There are some times when drinking too much water can be a problem:

    1. If  you have any kidney or adrenal problems, or your doctor has you taking diuretics, you need to consult with your doctor about how much water to drink each day
    2. Don’t drink all the water you need per day all at once. Divide the amount you need and drink several glasses of water throughout the day. This is especially important if you engage in lots of heavy exercise.
    3. Infants should be given only formula or breast milk unless your pediatrician tells you otherwise.
    4. Too much water, without also replacing your electrolytes, (balance people) will not keep you from being dehydrated, or save you from symptoms such as      headaches, nausea, dizziness, and exhaustion.

Aargh! Something else to keep up with! No, calm down, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Now for some ideas! (yay solutions)

    1. Water with a snack (try bananas, think potassium) is perfect for the afternoon in the park.
    2. Milk, nice cold milk, has electrolytes in it already!
    3. Flavored water. (try glass of water & 1 squirt of lemon juice-like RealLemon,you’ve seen it)
    4. Any snack that combines salt, fluid, sugar and protein is pretty much golden. (think apples and peanut butter)

Now we all know there are other solutions, the first one that comes to mind for most people is Sports Drinks. Keep this from familyfitness in mind:

Sports drinks: Generally, avoid these since they add calories and sugar, but few nutrients, to your child’s diet. But if he’s exercising vigorously and prefers sports drinks to water, let him drink up—it’s more important that he stays hydrated. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes for a 90-pound child while he’s exercising. The AAP also suggests weighing your child before and after he exercises so you can see how much fluid he lost—then you’ll know how much he needs to replace during future workouts.

Now, that’s vigorous exercise. That is not regular play in the backyard. (Even down here on the 98 degree 98% humidity day) For those days, the best thing you can do is provide fun, in their face hydration. Wait, what? I heard you, I have a giant spouted cooler that comes out in about May and lives on the kitchen counter (where any child over the age of one can get to-I know I’m a brave lady) until about September. In their face, means they don’t get so distracted they are dropping like flies out there. I keep it full (and clean) of liquid that won’t spoil before my kids drink it (about 3 to 4 days). Do you have any idea what I’m talking about? Who remembers this guy?

Now before someone takes away my Mom card, I don’t follow the package directions, I use waaay more water and 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup per packet for an entire 2 gallon container. (If they’ve never had Kool-aid made “the right way” they don’t know wahahaha-sorry, evil mommy got out for a sec…) I have caught these kids sitting in the floor with mouths open while another sibling flips the spout. (It’s all about team work) Sometimes I get all fancy and make Country Time in it (my personal fav-if you add actual lemon juice to it it’ll taste less like candy and more like the real thing, but will still keep on that counter).  Why the hell do I need to keep it on my counter? #1 there isn’t room in my fridge for a one gallon container, much less this behemoth; #2 on the counter they can drink all day long, without the refrigerator constantly being open (a habit I discourage) #3 It’s a novel, fun, summer-only thing for my kids, getting out that damn container is the equivalent of kick starting summer as far as they are concerned.

*Now here’s a little disclaimer: I do NOT care if you don’t follow my “beverage rules”, please do not misunderstand what I’m about to say, I said it before, in my house I make my rules, you get to for your house & God Bless, cause I only want to be in charge of this zoo, Thankyouverymuch! 😉 *

These kids don’t drink soda (including the 14-year-old) other than the occasional sip of Gingerale when someone has been vomiting for awhile. They don’t drink “juice beverages”, only 100% here, and not tons of that. They do not drink any caffeinated beverages (unless there is extreme cold and I’m serving hot cocoa)at all. We drink water, herbal teas, milk, and occasional 100% juice year round. Which is why the Kool-aid/Country Time container is so popular around here. It does have rules, there is no meal-appropriate beverage in there, but the kids seem to accept that, and they know if you guzzle that all day Mom will cut you off and you will have to wait till your siblings (with tortuous slowness) finish the container and Mom washes and then refills before you are off of water only.

Other cool ways to incorporate hydration into your summer:

    1. Get cool bottles (your kids can pick them out, I promise, if you are reading this you aren’t cool enough to do it, it’s totally ok, me neither) to put water,  juice, whatever the hell in.
    2. Freeze juice boxes/pouches before you leave. Shlushies!!
    3. Make “popsicles” from juice
    4. Splash any fruit juice into your regular bottle for a special treat.
    5. Frozen bananas,  get crazy & dip them in chocolate…
    6. Frozen watermelon.
    7. Make Yogurt  Smoothies to go!

What other ideas do you have? What is your summer hydration plan like? Let me know. Stay Safe & have fun! 🙂


Home-made Electrolyte Drink

I found this while researching alternatives to Sports Drinks for my Dehydration post:

According to the Mayo Clinic, you can also create your own electrolyte drink at home. But the ingredient amounts need to be exact; if they are not, this drink could be harmful.

To make your own electrolyte drink, put 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 3 tablespoons of sugar in 1 quart of water and mix.

By the way, while the stuff ain’t Kool-aid, it’s not as bad as it sounds like it would be either. Keep in mind all the info regarding dehydration before you start dosing your kids with stuff, though.

*And as always, talk to a doctor & do your own research too! 🙂 Stay Safe!*

Hydration Information Part 1: (Hydrate what/when/why?)

Your bag is ready, you’ve got your sunscreen in the cooler to help it keep longer, you have your bug spray in there too, now what to bring to drink? We all know keeping hydrated is important, water can do that, but what else is there that a parent should know before you head out into that summer sun? It seems like first we should establish what is hydrated vs dehydrated, other than the obvious (hydrated good, have enough fluid; dehydrated bad, not enough fluid)? Well the easiest way to tell if you (or your kid) is hydrated? Thirst. If you are thirsty you are at best mildly dehydrated. (I’ll wait while you go get a glass of water) Electrolyte imbalance is what triggers that thirst feeling. (we will come back to those mysterious sounding minerals in a minute) Children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults. Why? Those lovely folks over at WebMD say it better than I could:

Children love to play outside, especially when the weather’s warm. Parents, however, should know that active children do not adjust to hot temperatures (greater than 95°F) as well as adults. Their body surface, as a proportion of their overall weight, is much greater than an adult’s. So they produce more heat during physical activity and they sweat less than adults. This reduces their ability to get rid of body heat and could lead to dehydration.

And? What happens if you get dehydrated, I mean we all know it’s bad and long-term, it will kill you, but reality speak says there has to be something between “Mommy, I’m thirsty.” and dead, right? Well, these are your early signs and symptoms of dehydration in children (from our friends at the University of Maryland:

Lack of Tears

  • Children who are dehydrated may cry without tears. The body does not have the fluids necessary to produce tears in children lacking in fluids. This sign helps parents to identify the problem in babies and children too young to articulate how they feel.

Lack of Urination

  • Children and adults have a lower urine output when dehydrated. Babies and toddlers in diapers may have six diapers or fewer in the early stages of dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic. A child that does not wet a diaper for six to eight hours may be experiencing severe dehydration. Older children not in diapers experience fewer trips to the bathroom for urination.


  • Early signs of dehydration include fatigue and listlessness in children. Children who are dehydrating may be irritable, confused and dizzy as well. Children, who are severely dehydrated may be extremely sleepy, fussy and confused. The dehydration may cause babies and children to experience head pain. The muscles may feel weak during dehydration, which may explain fatigue and sluggishness.

Dry Mouth

  • The early signs of  dehydration cause the mucous membranes to become dry. This causes the mouth to become dry and sticky. Children who feel dehydrated experience thirst as well.

They go on to talk about these very scary Extreme Dehydration Symptoms:

When dehydration advances to an extreme phase, the symptoms include a loss of elasticity in the skin. The skin remains in a pinched position when pulled or pinched. Children in severe dehydration may experience a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure and–in extreme cases–loss of consciousness. Parents may notice the soft spot on the baby’s head appears shrunken in extreme cases of dehydration.  Severe dehydration is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

*A side note here: Severe dehydration also will look like a kid has black eyes (without the swelling associated normally with black eyes).* 

And on to happier less scary things! I found a chart! (You know how I ADORE a good chart) This one is actually a pee color chart! (which would be the 2nd easiest way to tell if your kid needs more fluids, the darker the pee, the more dehydrated)

Now, as promised, we will go onto electrolytes, we hear about them all the time (usually in Sports Drinks ads), but what are they other than the things we lose (other than water) when we sweat? From the very informed folks at emedicinehealth I found the best (but still simple) answer I could:

Electrolytes are the smallest of chemicals that are important for the cells in the body to function and allow the body to work. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and others are critical in allowing cells to generate energy, maintain the stability of their walls, and to function in general. They generate electricity, contract muscles, move water and fluids within the body, and participate in myriad other activities.

So, basically, in order to stay hydrated to have to consume both fluid and electrolytes, just like everything else in your body, you need this balance. So that was the what/when/why of hydration, stay tuned for the how…

And as always, Stay safe in the summer sun! 🙂

Got any other hydration what/when/why facts to share? Please, it takes a Village and all, we welcome both your knowledge and input!