When Can Babies Start Drinking Water?

There’s plenty of information out there on when you should start introducing solid foods to your baby, but what about water? Although water is one of the most basic things we all consume, there’s a surprising amount of misinformation out there on when you should give your baby water and how much they need. Keep reading to learn about how old your baby should be before you give them water, how much they should drink every day, and how you can make sure your baby is well-hydrated.

Do Young Babies Need Water to Stay Hydrated?

In a word, no. Even in very hot and humid weather, babies under the age of six months don’t need any water at all, as long as they’re consuming adequate amounts of breast milk or formula. These substances provide all the hydration as well as all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of their life.

Why Is Water Unsafe for Babies Under Six Months?

Many people don’t realize it, but giving your baby water when they’re too young can actually hurt them. Because they’re growing so rapidly, infants need a great deal of nutrition in their first few months of life. Drinking water makes a baby less likely to want formula or breast milk, which can stunt their growth and slow their development. Plain water can also throw off the balance of sodium and electrolytes in your infant’s body, causing a condition called water intoxication. Water intoxication can cause serious side effects like seizures, coma, and low body temperature. And this doesn’t happen only on babies. Adults too can get water intoxication if they drink more than the recommended amount of water per day.

Play it safe – if your baby is healthy, don’t give them any water at all.

In rare cases, a baby may need to drink something other than formula or breast milk if they are in immediate danger of becoming dehydrated. Illnesses like stomach flu can cause this to happen. In a case like this, your infant’s pediatrician will tell you what to give them. The pediatrician may recommend an electrolyte drink instead of plain water.

What’s the Right Age to Introduce Water?

There is not an exact age where you should give your kid water but it is recommended that once your baby is six months old, you can start giving them sips of water. It takes many babies a while to get used to the taste of water, so start slowly. Too much water can still be harmful to a baby this age, so don’t give your little one more than a quarter cup, or two ounces, of water a day. More than this can cause problems with their digestion or sodium levels.

How Should You Give Your Baby Water?

Introducing water is a good way to help your baby learn how to use a cup. At first, your little one won’t have the coordination to use a regular cup, so they may have an easier time drinking out of a cup with a lid and a spout or straw. You can also let them practice taking sips of water out of your own cup. Once your baby is a year old, they’ll probably be able to move on to using a regular cup, though a cup with a lid may still be useful for preventing spills.

You can let your baby sip on some water whenever they seem thirsty. As you start introducing solid foods, it may be a good idea to give your baby a little water when you feed them. This can help prevent constipation.

You don’t have to do anything special to your water before your baby drinks it. As long as your tap water is safe, you can give it to your 6-month-old. If you have strong-tasting tap water, your baby may like the taste of filtered water better.

What About Other Drinks?

When can you give your baby cow’s milk and fruit juice? It depends. Once your baby is six months old, you can give them a little fruit juice if you want to, but you should dilute it first. Mix one part water to one part juice, or, even better, two or three parts water to one part juice. Undiluted fruit juice can be hard for a baby to digest because of its high sugar content.

Also, a few fruits such as strawberries have a high amount of acids and giving your baby to much of it, without mixing with other fruit juices or milk, can cause issues on their stomach.

Keep in mind that, while your baby might like fruit juice, they don’t need it. Fruit juice provides a lot of sugar without much nutrition. If you’re not careful, the sugar in juice can damage your infant’s teeth as they come in. Consider saving the fruit juice for an occasional treat when your baby is older.

Cow’s milk, on the other hand, is nutritious, but you shouldn’t give it to your baby until they are at least one year old. This is because your baby’s digestive system isn’t ready yet to handle the proteins and minerals in cow’s milk during their first year of life. Stick with breast milk or formula for now, and only switch to cow’s milk when you’re ready to wean your baby.

Final Thoughts

Even though water is a very important factor of a healthy life, babies don’t necessarily need to drink water until a certain age. After the 6 month old birthday, you can give him little sips of water, so he can get used to it. Be careful to not give a lot of water because it can throw off the balance of sodium and electrolytes in his body, which will cause water intoxication.

Also, giving him water, will make him feel full, so he will not let you breastfeed him, which means that he will not get the healthy and necessary nutrients the milk has. This will slow his developing rate and will not be good for his health.

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