Ideal time to introduce water to babies

Here’s what every parent needs to know about when babies can start drinking water.

Can babies drink water?

The answer is yes but at an appropriate age.

It’s best not to offer your baby water before 6 months. At this newborn stage, breast milk or formula meets every nutritional need for healthy growth and development. And a baby can thrive on breast milk/formula alone for the first 6 months.

When can babies drink water?

Most experts suggest that you wait until you’ve started solids when your little one is around 6 months. Before then, babies get all the hydration they need from formula and/or breast milk.

There are also many risks associated with giving a baby water before he/she is old enough. Hence, introducing water is advised by health practitioners only post 6 months.

Why should you wait until your baby turns 6 months?

WHO ( World Health Organisation) states that babies that are breastfed don’t need additional water, as breast milk is over 80 per cent water and provides the necessary fluids your baby needs. Children who are bottle-fed will stay hydrated with the help of formula milk.

 Here are some reasons to wait:

  • Water feedings tend to fill up the child’s tummy leading to a lack of nutrients 
  • Providing water early on could result in water intoxication
  • Too much water causes their kidneys to flush out electrolytes, including sodium, leading to imbalances
  • Insufficient weight gain
  • Decreased milk supply

How much water can babies drink?

From 6 months on, babies need 4 to 6 ounces of water a day, or over half a cup of water. But it’s always best to check with your paediatrician on how much your little one needs before your baby starts drinking water.

Happy parenting!