Ever wonder if your baby can drink water? Read on for the latest recommendations!
The Official Recommendation on Water for Babies
While there are lots of anecdotal recommendations flying around out there, there is an official recommendation to answer the question "Can babies drink water?" Once your baby has started eating foods, the answer is yes, babies can drink water! But with some caveats...
Babies Can Have a Little Bit of Water Daily
Once your baby starts to eat food, you can start giving them a few ounces of water with each of their meals. Ideally, we want to keep it to 4-8 oz each day. The recommendation is to limit that water to mealtimes, and not to give it freely throughout the day.
By limiting water to mealtimes, you are allowing your baby to get used to the flavor of water. At the same time, you are keeping breast milk or formula their main drink throughout their first year of life. Their milk is their main drink both nutritionally and for hydration purposes!
Watch this video for a quick rundown of what you need to know!
Babies Don't NEED Water to Drink
Before a year old, water is just for practice. We really just want them to get used to the flavor. Then, when they are a year or older and water becomes more important for hydration, they are used to it.
You can also use this time of practice with water to help your baby get used to open cup drinking. Traditionally we think that babies need sippy cups, and they need them early. But that's not the case! The first cup to teach your baby is actually an open cup.
Unless you live in a very hot climate and your pediatrician has specifically recommended it, if your baby is thirsty, breastmilk or formula is the best way to hydrate them. Don't rely on water to help you feel like they are meeting their hydration needs!
My Baby Wants to Drink a Lot of Water at Meals
What should you do if your baby decides that they really love water and want to drink a ton at mealtimes?
First, know that one of the main purposes behind this recommendation is that we want to prioritize breast milk and formula in their first year. So if your baby is still drinking a normal amount of their milk, there's generally no concern.
Reduce How Often You Offer Your Baby Water
If your baby decides that they do want lots of water, try not bringing water to the table for them at every mealtime. If you can keep the water to one or two mealtimes and they want to drink several ounces at each meal, it is less of an issue.
Some babies will demand water at every meal, though! If your baby has significantly decreased the amount of breast milk or formula that they drink, and have replaced it with water, it's something to consider addressing.
Try replacing some of the water with breastmilk or formula to start with. Keep the same cup so that they continue to get open cup practice. But at the end of the day keep in mind that this is just a guideline.
Trust Your Baby With What They Need!
Most babies have uncanny intuition.Do your best to offer them a varied diet and breast milk on demand, or formula when they need it. With that, they will drink the water that they need at mealtimes and be okay.
They may drink more or less than the 4-8 ounce recommendation, but again, in general it is not something to stress about!
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