When can babies drink water? | Pregnancy Birth and Baby beginning of content
If your baby is under 6 months old, they only need to drink breastmilk or infant formula. From 6 months of age, you can give your baby small amounts of water, if needed, in addition to their breastmilk or formula feeds.
Why is water not suitable for babies younger than 6 months?
Before 6 months, breastmilk or formula is both food and drink for your baby. It is all they need, even in hot weather. Giving your baby water may mean they drink less breastmilk or formula. This can put them at risk of not getting enough milk or formula to grow properly. Giving your baby a lot of water or excessively diluted formula over a short time can also make them very unwell.
When can I give water to my baby?
If your baby is around 6 months old, you can offer small amounts of cooled boiled tap water but you should not replace their breastmilk or formula feeds. Breastmilk or formula should still be their main drink up to 12 months of age.
After 12 months, their main drink should be water and cow's milk or breastmilk. You can offer water or milk in a cup. There's no need to boil tap water once your baby has reached 12 months.
If your baby has just started on solids, start with a few sips of water from a cup when they are eating. This is so they can learn about drinking from a cup and it can also help prevent constipation due to the increased bulk of their poo. The aim is to get them used to drinking from a cup as this will be their main way of drinking from 12 months on.
What about in hot weather?
In hot weather, it is important to offer more frequent breastfeeds or bottle-feeds if your baby is under 6 months. Do not offer water unless recommended by a doctor.
Your baby may want to drink more than usual but for shorter periods. If you breastfeed, you should also make sure you drink enough water.
To make breastfeeding more comfortable for you and your baby in hot weather:
place a towel, sheet or pillowcase between yourself and your baby
lie down to breastfeed to reduce skin contact
Your baby is properly hydrated (getting enough fluids) if they have 6 to 8 pale wet nappies over 24 hours.
What if my baby has a fever?
If your baby has a fever, is under 6 months and is breastfed, you may need to offer extra breastfeeds. If they are under 6 months and formula-fed, you can offer smaller amounts of formula more frequently. Do not offer water unless advised by a doctor.
If your baby is older than 6 months, continue to breastfeed or bottle feed. You can offer water in between feeds. The most important thing to check is whether your child is getting enough fluids.
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse for advice and support.
What about other drinks?
Fruit juice, soft drinks and cordial are not suitable for babies under 12 months old.
Caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and energy drinks — and, of course, alcohol — are not suitable for children of any age.
Australian Breastfeeding Association (Keeping baby cool in the heat), National Health and Medical Research Council (Infant Feeding Guidelines), NSW Health (Babies and children in hot weather), Raising Children Network (Fever), Raising Children Network (Healthy drinks for kids and teenagers), Royal Children's Hospital (Guide to foods for baby’s first year), World Health Organization (Why can’t we give water to a breastfeeding baby before 6 months, even when it is hot?)
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: July 2020
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When Can Babies Have Water?
Can newborns drink water? When it comes to infants, the answer is they shouldn’t. As long as baby’s diet consists exclusively of breast milk or formula, an infant doesn’t need any water to stay healthy and hydrated early on. In fact, a belly full of water might curb baby’s appetite for milk, which could compromise your child’s nutrition. But as they get older it’s important for children to drink water—so when can babies have water to start developing good hydration habits? Here’s the 411 on when to give baby water and how to add h30 to baby’s diet safely.
When Can Babies Drink Water?
You know it’s got to happen sometime—so when can babies have water? Here’s an easy rule to remember: It’s safe to give baby water whenever you start introducing solids, when babies are around 6 months old. They won’t take more than a few sips from a cup or bottle at a time—and that’s fine, because they don’t really need it. But letting baby drink water at this stage helps him get used to the taste. “It’s one of the healthiest habits to start early,” says California-based pediatrician Tanya Altmann, MD, author of What To Feed Your Baby.
How to get baby to drink water
Once you know when babies can have water, how do you go about giving water to baby? There’s really no right or wrong answer. “Bottle, sippy cup, straw or even tiny sips from a regular cup is fine,” Altmann says, noting that bottles may be easiest for infants. “My mom used to use the cap from the bottle as a little cup to pour tiny sips into my boys’ mouths. They loved it! They laughed, sometimes spit some back, but got used to the taste of plain water as infants.”
How Much Water Can a Baby Have?
From 6 to 12 months, babies don’t actually need water, but a few sips here and there will help them get accustomed to drinking water. Older infants, between 9 and 12 months, can and should drink more—a few ounces a day, Altmann says. Once your child celebrates her first birthday and is eating solids, it’s okay to let baby drink water freely, but only between meals. At mealtime, offer whole milk. (You can start giving baby juice after 6 months of age, but there’s really no nutritional reason to do so.)
Can baby get dehydrated?
As long as baby is feeding well and gaining weight appropriately, he’s unlikely to get dehydrated. The exception is when baby has a cold, flu or other health problem. “When babies are sick they can get easily dehydrated if they aren’t drinking enough or if they’re losing fluids through vomiting or diarrhea,” Altmann says. How can you tell if baby is dehydrated? Call your pediatrician right away if there are fewer wet and dirty diapers than usual, if baby is lethargic, unusually tired or isn’t making tears, or if the soft spot on top of baby’s head appears sunken. “You may need to breastfeed more frequently, give baby an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, or in more serious cases baby may need to be hospitalized for IV fluids,” Altmann says.
When is water bad for babies?
While you don’t have to worry about not feeding baby enough water, it is possible to give too much. It happens mainly in an attempt to dilute formula with water, which you should never do as a way to cut calories if you think baby is gaining too much weight too quickly. “When mixing formula, it’s important to follow the instructions precisely,” Altmann says. “Too much water can dilute the nutrition and cause serious health problems.” In fact, giving too much water can lead to water intoxication in infants, which, while rare, causes babies’ sodium and electrolyte levels to drop, potentially leading to serious medical problems such as brain damage, seizures and even death.
How to Safely Prepare Formula With Water
So is it ever okay to dilute baby formula with water? If you’re not using ready-to-feed formula, it’s fine to mix powdered or condensed formula with either tap or bottled water. “Whether it’s bottled water or tap, what water you use is a personal preference,” Altmann says. “Be sure to ask your pediatrician or pediatric dentist if your child needs extra fluoride, depending on what type of water you use and whether or not it contains fluoride.” To make sure baby is getting a dose of fluoride, you can mix the formula with bottled water that has added fluoride, or simply give baby sips of bottled water with fluoride. If you use only tap water, note that you may notice slight white spots on your child’s teeth, a harmless condition called dental fluorosis. According to the American Dental Association it won’t affect the health of teeth—and may even make teeth more resistant to decay.
“Drinking plain water is one of the healthiest habits you can start with baby,” Altmann says. And it makes sense: Infants who drink plain water become toddlers who drink plain water and later kids who drink plain water. “How many adults do you know who don’t like the taste of plain water?” Altmann says. “It’s because they didn’t get used to drinking it as kids.”
Just like learning to eat solids, learning to drink water is a process for most babies—and the sooner you start, the stronger this healthy habit will be. So bottoms up!
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
The child's need for water. Myths and truth. Let's figure it out!
Author of article Belmer Sergey Viktorovich
August 25, 2021
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Water calculator - calculate how much water your child needs.
Water is the basis of life and a natural component of the human body. Children's bodies especially need proper water intake. After all, it is at an early age that the most important stages in the development of the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive and immune systems of the body occur.
The right diet for a child is the basis of his health and further development. And the sooner you help your child form the habit of competent water consumption, the easier it will be for him to maintain a healthy and proper lifestyle in the future.
A child's body is 80% water, and an adult's is 60%. So, let's figure it out: how much water is needed for the healthy development of a child's body, what kind of water is useful, and how often should a child be offered a drink?
These and other important questions on the topic are answered by Belmer Sergey Viktorovich , Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Hospital Pediatrics No. 2 of the Pediatric Faculty of the Russian National Research Medical University (RNIMU) named after. N.I. Pirogov.
Let's debunk the most popular myths about water, that is, the most popular misconceptions about its benefits, quantity, quality, and possible harm.
Myth #1: It is necessary to give your baby water from the moment of birth
It's a delusion. It all depends on the specific situation, whether the child is breastfed or not. How much and how often the child consumes breast milk or formula per day. Every age has different water needs. See for yourself:
Standards for the total daily water requirement of children
Water requirement per 1 kg. body weight
The table values take into account all the water that the child receives during the day. This is pure water, and various drinks, and soups, and solid food, which also contains water.
Based on the data presented in the table, you can easily calculate the child's need for clean water. So, for example, take a baby weighing 3 kilograms. According to the table, we calculate the daily need of the baby for water: 3 kg * 90 ml = 270 ml / day. If you know how much water from milk or complementary foods a child receives per day, it is not difficult to calculate whether additional water should be given to the baby.
As a rule, a breast-fed baby up to six months of age has enough water from mother's milk and does not require additional water intake. With the introduction of complementary foods, additional water is required for the child.
But once again I want to remind you that the rate of water consumption is a purely individual value, which depends on the activity of the child, the biochemical characteristics of the child's body, on the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air.
Myth #2: Bottled water should still be boiled
Bottled water does not need to be boiled. The technology of water preparation and bottling ensures its sterility throughout the entire shelf life. In this regard, boiling, aimed specifically at the destruction of microorganisms in water, is not required in this case. In all other cases, such as tap water, spring, well, etc., it is necessary to boil. And sometimes more serious methods of processing such water are required, but it is not recommended to give such water to children.
Myth #3: There is no difference between "baby" and "adult" water.
"Children's" water is distinguished by higher quality requirements and a physiologically balanced composition. Bottled water of the first and, especially, the highest category is subject to very strict requirements for its safety, in particular, for its chemical composition. In the case of "baby" water, the requirements for its composition are even higher. In its production, it is necessary not only to prevent the excess of the concentration of macro- and microelements, but also to ensure their balanced content, taking into account the characteristics of the child's body.
Myth #4: Water can be easily replaced with juices, fruit drinks and other drinks
Any drink is a source of water. However, the composition of various drinks, such as juices, fruit drinks, etc., contains other substances besides water, such as sugar, the excess of which may be undesirable for a child. In this regard, replacing “clean water” with other drinks should be done with great care. After the introduction of complementary foods, juices and fruit drinks appear in the composition of the child's diet in regulated volumes.
Myth #5: Baby water is a marketing ploy
It's a delusion. "Children's" water, as I have already said, is distinguished by special requirements for its composition, in particular, the balance of the amount of macro- and microelements, corresponding to the needs of the child's body.
Myth #6: Boiled and filtered water is no different from baby water
Boiling destroys microorganisms. The results of filtration depend on the characteristics of the filter, but, first of all, particles suspended in it are removed.
Myth #7: Water with any mineral composition is good for a child
The water contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, iodine, selenium and many other macro- and microelements that are necessary for the body. It is important that their content does not exceed the permissible concentration. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that water is not the exclusive and even the main source of these substances: the child receives them, first of all, from other foods. However, the deficiency of certain minerals in water, which is often observed in various regions of the world, can lead to diseases. Thus, water without minerals is hazardous to health.
Myth #8: Boiled water is best for formula feeding
It's a delusion. It is best to use specially prepared industrially "baby" water. It is safe and has an optimal chemical composition.
These are the main myths about water in terms of baby food and consumption that are encountered today. For a more detailed study of the topic, consider a few more frequently asked questions that parents of babies contact us with.
What are the benefits of the minerals indicated in the composition? (Ca, Mg, K, bicarbonates, sulfates, fluorides, chlorides)
Minerals in the composition of water are necessary for the normal course of metabolic processes. Calcium and magnesium are essential for bone formation and the functioning of the nervous system, potassium is essential for the normal functioning of the heart and muscles, sodium is a key factor in almost all metabolic processes. It is very important that the chemical composition of water meets the needs of the body, which is achieved by certain technological methods in the production of special "children's" water.
How to persuade a child to drink water?
It's hard to persuade. The child drinks according to his needs. Feeling thirsty is an indicator of water intake. Water in a bottle or drinking bowl should always be nearby. Offer your baby first quality water, not sugary drinks.
How to teach a toddler to drink from a bottle?
In the first days and months of life, if necessary, you can gradually accustom the child to water, supplementing it with a spoon or from a bottle with a nipple. And if you start giving water at an older age, then you can immediately move on to a baby cup or sippy cup.
How to drink a child on a trip?
Special baby water is the best choice for a child while traveling. Such water is sterile and compensates for possible loss of salts, thanks to a balanced chemical composition.
How much baby water to take on a plane?
It depends on the age of the child and the duration of the flight, but not less than 100 ml. This is the minimum stock.
Should I give my baby water at night?
It is not necessary to water the child at night, but if such a need arises, offer the child a couple of sips of water. This is fine.
Should I give my child to drink after active games in the heat?
This must be done without fail, and not only after, but also during active games in the sun or in hot weather, since water is excreted from the body in significant quantities with sweating. Offer your baby water as often as possible. It is more convenient to take special "baby" water in a bottle for a walk, it has a small volume, but sufficient even for a two- or three-hour walk.
Children's water "FrutoNyanya" - from the first days of life!
Children's water "FrutoNyanya" is water of the highest category. Does not require boiling. The water is carefully balanced in terms of mineral composition and is suitable even for the smallest children.
FrutoNyanya special children's water is available in 0.
33l, 1.5l and 5l formats
Choose the format that best suits you. A bottle of 0.33 liters is ideal for a walk. And for home use: preparing cereals, mixtures and pouring into a children's drinking bowl, bottled water of 1.5 liters will be convenient. A 5L canister is a great option for a large family or to take the required amount of water with you to the country.
Water quality control is carried out at all stages of the technological process of its production in the accredited testing center "FrutoNyanya". The test center employees take water samples at every stage of its production.
When extracting water from a well, the stage of water treatment, whether it is purification from mechanical impurities, the stage of normalizing the composition of water in terms of the content of macro- and microelements, the ozonation process or final filtration. Also, samples are taken without fail when pouring water into containers and its packaging.
All samples undergo mandatory testing for compliance with the requirements and standards. Product quality control is a continuous round-the-clock process of our center. If at least one discrepancy is found, the batch is not allowed to be sold.
Author of the article Belmer Sergey Viktorovich
Pediatric gastroenterologist, MD, professor.
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Is it good or bad if a child drinks a lot?
Some mothers are very worried when their child suddenly starts to drink a lot. This can happen with both babies and teenagers. Let's try to find out the possible reasons, and understand when to worry and when not.
In health, as in most aspects of human life, "a lot" can almost never mean good. In other words, everything should be in moderation. But what is the measure in water consumption in children? For adults, there is some conditional (and constantly contested) recommended water intake of 1. 5-2 liters of water per day. Recommended daily water intake for children according to different researchers differs, but most come to about the following figures:
for a child up to 3 years old - 700-800 ml,
for children from 3 to 7 years - 1000 ml
for children from 7 to 12 years old - 1200-1700 ml,
for teenagers (12-16 years old) - 2200 ml
Moreover, the daily norm here includes not only water, but also all liquids: compotes, juices, liquid soups, etc.
If a child drinks more water than is recommended for children of his age, do not immediately sound the alarm either. There can be a million reasons for thirst in the human body: stuffy climate, dry air, intense physical activity, fever, eating salty, sweet or fatty foods, diarrhea or nausea. In other words, in these cases the body tries by all means to compensate for his water supplies, and it is perfectly normal to be thirsty under such circumstances.
If the above factors are not observed in the life of a child - your apartment has optimal humidity (about 50%), temperature (18-22 degrees Celsius), a healthy diet - and the child drinks significantly more than it is recommended for him at his age, this may become an occasion to consult a pediatrician and an endocrinologist. If the doctor, after a series of examinations, says that everything is in order, then your child just has such a feature of the body, and let him drink to health.
On the other hand, it is worth making sure that when the child is thirsty, he drinks exactly water, and not harmful sweetened drinks such as soda, packaged juices, and so on. In this case, homemade compotes and fruit drinks are less of a problem, but you should not overdo it with them either. The fact is that sweet drinks deliver light calories to the body, and at the same time they practically do not give a feeling of fullness. At the same time, the body digests these calories too, and not all of them are then spent in energy. What's more, drinks with a lot of sugar also leave a sweet aftertaste in your mouth, which even increases your thirst. If your family has had cases of obesity or diabetes, it is better to play it safe and make sure that in case of thirst, the child drinks exactly water, and not sugary drinks.
A child will not drink water if he has not been taught to do so since childhood and if he does not see that his parents do it too. Children imitating their parents and other authoritative adults can be powerful, Therefore, when teaching a child to drink water, start with yourself and drink it yourself.
Another question is how to captivate a baby with water, if before he did not have the habit of drinking water. Ordinary water in this sense loses to children's packaged juices with bright cartoon characters on the labels. Try to find water that is produced specifically for young children and also has funny pictures on the label. And, of course, pay attention to the quality of the water your children drink. In this sense, the best option is high-quality bottled table water. Do not get carried away with medicinal table waters - in large quantities for a healthy body, they can even be dangerous. But waters with a balanced mineral composition are the best for children. Particularly worth paying attention to the content of calcium in the water, which is necessary for the growing body for the growth of bones and muscles.