We’ve all been there. Worrying about our babies as new mothers is natural, and it is good to get those doubts and questions answered by experts. Such is the question when it comes to your baby drinking water. When it is hot outside and you think your baby may be dehydrated, a sip of water might cause no harm in your opinion, right?
You might want to read ahead to know the right time to start and the right way to let your baby drink a bit of H2O for the first time. Our article is dedicated to addressing everything related to feeding your baby water for the first time and how to go about it.
Table Of Contents
When Is It Okay For Babies To Drink Water?
Unlike the concept of giving solid food to your babies, feeding your baby water for the first time doesn’t have a lot of clarity in a timeline.
When to start giving babies water? You can start letting your baby drink water once they cross the 6 month age mark. This is ideally the time when you introduce them to solid food as well. What we would suggest is that you start slowly by giving the baby fruit juice diluted with water in the ratio 10:1 so that they start getting used to it. You may use a sipping cup, spoon or bottle, but keep a track on how much you allow them to drink. An excessive amount will give them a tummy ache. Also, please do not give them any kind of artificially flavoured drinks and sodas.
Why You Should Not Feed Water To Babies Between 0-6 Months
Giving your newborn baby water is not a good idea as it causes several complications in their health and habits as listed below:
1) Can Cause Intoxication:
Water intoxication is caused by too much water in the baby’s body, leading to dilution of nutrients in the body. This causes seizures and lower body temperatures in your baby.
Feeding your infant water before 6 months can cause dehydration and their bodies to flush out important electrolytes.
3) Improper Absorption of Nutrients:
Water does not have any calories and can hinder the absorption of nutrients from breast milk or baby formula, thereby causing an unwanted weight loss and increased levels of bilirubin in the baby’s body.
4) Underdeveloped Kidneys:
Before the age of 6 months, your infant’s kidneys are still not properly developed. This makes their bodies unable to process the electrolytes in water thereby flushing out all of them along with sodium.
Feeding Water to Babies Aged Between 6-12 Months
Once you start feeding your baby solid food after 6 months, the intake and dependence on breast milk reduce substantially. Ideally, your baby drinking water between 50-120 ml is okay. In case you have a very active baby, giving them a little more periodically would be good for them. Please make a note that you are supposed to feed your baby water along with breast milk or baby formula.
Water for Babies Older Than A Year
One your baby crosses the year-old mark their intake of breast milk comes down to less than 500 ml a day. You would have introduced them to various kinds of solid foods such as boiled and mashed vegetables. They now need more water to keep themselves hydrated. A baby’s bowel movements are also affected positively by the intake of water from time to time. They get more playful and move around more than before and it makes the baby drink water on instinct. Toddlers can be given around 1 to 1.5 litres of water every day in various forms which are included in the formula, milk, food, juices etc.
Using Spoons or Cups to Feed Water
Once you know when to give your baby water, you may start slow by feeding them out of a spoon. This is for feeding infants water with ease. Their instinct to latch immediately will help them. No-spill sipping cups are another good option as well.
As they grow older than a year, you can start teaching them how to take a sip of water from cups. This will allow them to use more oral muscles and encourage them to develop further.
At any given point, we would not advise the use of straws. They usually cause children and adults alike to sip on more air than usual, causing problems like a bloated stomach and a tummy ache.
For new moms, here is a short guideline about feeding your baby water:
1) Start by teaching them to hold their cups till they learn to do it independently.
2) Help the baby by tilting the cup and holding it while they drink.
3) In case you are spoon feeding the baby water, hold their head up to an angle so that they don’t choke on the water.
Tips For Your Babies Drinking Water
For the first 6 months, breast milk or formula is everything for your baby. Don’t rush into feeding your baby water, you need to make sure their growth reaches a particular stage. Start slow because after introducing water babies may start to develop a taste and reduce their appetite for milk.
You can feed your infant water in different forms; diluting formula, fruit and vegetable juices or pulps will help immensely. Make sure to let the baby drink these fluids and water in small quantities between intervals of 20-25 minutes each. During summers, be careful about keeping them hydrated by making sure they take enough fluids.
FAQ About Feeding Water To Babies
1) Is tap water okay for babies?
You need to ensure that the water does not contain traces of chlorine or fluorine. Investing in a good water purifier will help with that.
2) Should my baby drink water from packaged bottles?
This is to be avoided as packaged bottles contain added minerals and sodium that are not agreeable with infants’ health.
3) Should I give my baby boiled water?
It is ideal to do so. Your baby’s health is delicate and boiling water just gets rid of microbes and health hazards present in them.
Wondering about when to give your baby water and what amount of water infants should be fed is a concern for lots of new mothers. There is nothing to fret about if you think your baby is dehydrated; letting your baby drink water before that is not needed since breast milk is their only source of nourishment for the first 6 months. Once you introduce them to their first sip of water, you can gently ease them into a healthy habit and routine. Do not hesitate to consult your paediatrician to calm your nerves and doubts, they will help you to understand your baby’s body and needs better!