Is it hot? Or do you want to make your baby’s “love” of water a lifelong habit? Before you feed your baby water, be sure you know what the recommendations are for feeding your baby water as a supplement to breast milk or formula.
At what age can babies drink water?
There are many different opinions about the right age to feed water to babies. All of them can be boiled down to (pardon the pun) : Do not give water to infants between 4 and 6 months of age unless your doctor specifically recommends it for health reasons.
Why not? Of course, if you are breastfeeding as required, or providing enough infant formula, your baby will get the right amount of hydration from it. Because breast milk and formula provide important nutrients in addition to hydration, you don’t want your baby to choose nutrient-deficient hydration before he or she is old enough to get it from food.
Feeding water to 4- to 6-month-old infants can lead to other problems, such as:
Weight loss or inadequate weight gain because infants can supplement their energy with less breast milk or formula by consuming non-energy and non-nutritive water.
Decrease in breast milk supply because infants drink more water and therefore nurse less.
Water poisoning: Although not very common, water poisoning is a serious problem when a person (infant or adult) drinks too much water and upsets the balance of salts in the blood. This can lead to seizures and even death. To prevent this, formula dilution with extra water should be avoided and small children should be watched closely and often in the sink and bathtub to make sure they are not taking in large amounts of water (especially if they are playing with cups in the water).
How much water can babies drink?
When your baby is ready for solids, you might consider offering a small amount of water at mealtime, using a cup so your baby can try to drink. This is not intended to provide hydration, as breast milk and formula will do that. But for infants, it is a way to practice drinking from a cup and improve swallowing skills.
So, can my baby drink juice?
So, a 6-month-old baby can’t drink water, but what about juice? Well, the answer is basically the same, except that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States recommend that babies not be given juice during their first year of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that when your baby is ready to drink something other than infant formula or breast milk, it may be wise to encourage him to drink water rather than juice. Encouraging your baby to practice drinking from a cup and then choosing hydration while they are still children is a good habit to live by.