Ever wonder when you should be giving your baby water? Read on for the latest recommendations!
Watch this video for a quick rundown of what you need to know!
The Official Recommendation
While there are lots of anecdotal recommendations flying around out there, there is an official recommendation on water and babies.
Once you start feeding your baby at 6 months of age, you can start to give them water at meal times. During these first few months, you do want to restrict the water intake to meal times. When your baby is one, you can start to introduce water outside of mealtimes. Once your baby starts eating foods, having something to drink at meal times can help them to swallow food easier.
The idea behind restricting water to meals before one is that formula or breast milk are the main sources of calories and nutrients for the first year. If your baby starts to get used to drinking water throughout the day, the water can displace the amount of nutrients and calories they get.
Cups or Bottles?
Starting at 6 months, it is a great idea to introduce your baby to cups. Drinking from a cup is a skill, and the earlier you teach your child, the better! When they are first learning, giving your baby water in the cup is a much cleaner proposition than filling it with breastmilk or formula. But deciding whether to give breastmilk and formula or water at meal times is up to you as the parent. You can try several different styles of cups, from soft sippy cups and straws to a small open cup. Avoid the hard topped sippy cups as they can cause damage to your baby's teeth and gums over time.
Hot Weather Considerations
If you live in an area that gets very hot (Phoenix, I'm looking at you!) giving additional water throughout the day might be necessary. If you do live in an area that you think is too hot, talk to your pediatrician about water needs. When your baby sweats a lot, there is a chance that more fluids need to be replaced than what your baby gets through their milk. Most places in the US or Europe do not need to be concerned with this before a year of age, though.
Water can be given to babies starting at 6 months old when they start solid foods. It can be a mealtime aid to help babies swallow their foods easier. Water can also be a cleaner way to help your baby learn how to drink from a cup. Restrict water to mealtimes before one so it doesn't displace calories from breastmilk or formula. Speak with your pediatrician if you live in a hot climate and are worried that your baby is losing too many fluids through sweating.