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When Can Babies Have Water: A Complete Guide in 2023

When Can Babies Have Water A Complete Guide in 2023

Considering that breast milk contains more than 80% water, the World Health Organization (WHO), a dependable authority, states that breastfed infants do not need additional fluids.

Although it may seem unusual to withhold water from your infants early, there is solid proof that babies should only drink water once they are roughly six months old.

In my experience, once my babies began eating solid foods, I offered them sips of water from a cup or beaker with each meal.

Want to learn more? What every mother should know about when to let their baby start drinking water is provided here. Let’s get going!

When Can I Give My Baby Water?

When Can I Give My Baby Water

You can give your infant tiny amounts of boiled, then cooled, tap water when they are around 6 months old, but you shouldn’t substitute it for breastmilk or formula. 

Until they are 12 months old, their primary beverage should still be breastmilk or formula. It provides them with all the nourishment and hydration they need initially.

After a year, water and cow’s milk or breastfeeding should be their primary beverages. In my case, I started introducing it by providing a cup of water or milk. 

If you initially provide breast milk or formula, you can give 2-3 ounces of water at a time. 

4 to 8 ounces of fluids per day are adequate at this age. Any more could result in water intoxication.

Once your child reaches the age of a year, there is no need to boil the tap water. If they have begun solids, offer your infant water in a cup at mealtimes. 

This can teach children how to drink from a cup and help them avoid constipation. 

Since drinking from a cup will be the norm for them starting at age one year, try to ensure they are comfortable with it.

Breastmilk or formula serves as your baby’s meal and drinks until they are 6 months old. Even in the heat, that is all they require. 

All the nutrients and elements your baby needs at this age are in breast milk. Your baby may consume less breast milk or formula if you give them water. 

It’s possible that they won’t get enough milk or formula for healthy growth. Providing your baby with a lot of water or too diluted formula could make them pretty unwell. 

This is because a lot of water can hurt the concentration of some nutrients in your baby’s blood, which can be lethal or extremely harmful.

GOOD TO KNOW: Tap or pure distilled water is the best baby formula water. Both are reasonably priced and should be safe to use. 

Can Babies Drink Tap Water?

If the drinking water is hazardous, boil it before giving it to your child once they are more than six months old, or use bottled water in its stead.  

I don’t let my babies drink water directly from the faucet because it is not sterile.

To sanitize tap water, I boil some cold water for one minute. I leave it aside to cool to room temperature for approximately 30 minutes before use. 

No matter your kid’s age, you should always boil water before making powdered formula milk. 

You can give your infant tap water to drink after they are over 6 months old, but be sure to use distilled cold water for formula.

NOTE: The best option for mixing formula is distilled water; purified water is also suitable for giving to your baby when they are a bit older, and you want to be sure the water is nutrient-rich but free of impurities.

What About Water to Drink in Hot Weather?

Unless the pediatrician advises otherwise, you provide more consistent breast milk or formula feeding in hot weather than water.

If the mother making breast milk drinks enough water, and keeps hydrated, her milk will be more fluid and hydrating for the baby.

If babies have 6–8 wet diapers daily and their urine is light in color, they get adequate water.

NOTE: Infants between six months and one year should only drink alkaline water at the lowest level. Eight to sixteen ounces of water per day should be given to your baby, but starting as soon as possible is better.

How Can I Motivate My Child to Drink Water?

How Can I Motivate My Child to Drink Water

The easiest way to encourage water consumption is to model it yourself. In other words, demonstrate how it’s done! 

If your infant is truly uninterested in learning to sip from a cup:

  1. Pour water into an open cup in front of the baby.
  2. Tap the table to attract the baby’s attention.
  3. You should drink the water from the baby’s cup. 
  4. Hand the cup to the baby in the air and watch to see whether they reach for it or lean in.

I show my kids how to transfer fluid from a jug into their cups. It will encourage them, and you can then let them do it. 

To add a pop of flavor and make it more exciting, consider floating mint leaves or pieces of fruit in the water. 

Finally, extend your straw to them! Getting a child to sip from “daddy’s straw” or “momma’s straw” to try some water is often considerably easier.

In general, newborns should be given 1-2 ounces of water in a tiny open cup that they can manipulate with minimal assistance. 

Bring the cup to the baby, but stop before it gets too close so they can reach out and get the cup for themselves. 

Encourage this independence immediately and prepare for the mess and time required.

TIP: With the help of a sample feeding plan and baby feeding chart, you can learn how to make the best feeding schedule for the kids once they begin solids.

The Advantages of Giving Your Baby Water

The Advantages of Giving Your Baby Water

Water helps older babies 6 months and older stay hydrated, which:

  • Transports nutrients and oxygen to cells while also assisting in waste removal.
  • Maintains joint and tissue lubrication
  • Keeps blood volume constant
  • Removes the need for fruit juice (which pediatricians recommend avoiding before age one, and only in very small quantities, if at all).

Risks of Feeding Your Infant Water Too Soon

Risks of Feeding Your Infant Water Too Soon

Because of the following hazards, very small babies cannot consume water:

  • Nutrient deficiency. Babies who fulfill their hunger and need to suck with water bottles miss out on crucial nutrients they would otherwise acquire from breast milk or formula feedings.
  • Inadequate weight gain. If your baby consumes water in addition to breast milk or formula daily, she is not filling up on food. That implies your baby won’t get the calories she needs to gain the proper weight over time.
  • Reduced milk supply. If you’re nursing, giving your infant water will reduce your milk supply since babies that drink a lot of water will nurse less at the breast.
  • Imbalances in electrolytes. Allowing your infant to drink a lot of water can result in water intoxication, a potentially deadly condition in which electrolytes (such as sodium) in the baby’s bloodstream become diluted. This can affect a baby’s regular body functions, resulting in symptoms such as seizures.

Should Babies Use a Cup or Bottle for Water?

Introduce an open cup and a straw cup with meals as early as 6 months. 

To prevent one skill from becoming overly dominant, it can be good to alternate between an open cup and a straw cup (for example, serve an open cup with breakfast and a straw cup at lunch).

I do not advise using sippy cups or baby bottles. Instead of using sippy or 360 cups, the experts strongly advise using open or straw cups. 

Oral-motor skill development is not encouraged by the use of 360 cups or sippy cups. A lifelong skill is drinking from an open cup or straw.

PRO TIP: You can sanitize or clean the baby bottles or cups using bottle warmers before using them. To prevent unpleasant buildup and early failure, use distilled water exclusively when filling a baby bottle warmer.

Dehydration Symptoms in Infants

Dehydration Symptoms in Infants

If you’re concerned that your child isn’t getting enough fluids because they’re ill or because it’s really hot outside, look for the following indications of dehydration in babies:

  • Six or fewer wet diapers in 24 hours
  • Urine is a dark yellow color.
  • Lips cracked
  • Crying without tears (crying with little or no tears)
  • Dry skin that does not rebound when lightly squeezed
  • Sunken eyes
  • Listlessness
  • Sunken fontanelle (the “soft spot” on the top of her head)
  • Excessive fussiness
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Hands and feet are frosty.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Most youngsters will drink enough to meet their needs if they have access to water regularly. 

Try these additional hydration strategies if you have problems convincing your child to drink water from a sippy cup.

Encourage Frequent, Tiny Sips

Throughout the day, provide small amounts of water. Your child will be hydrated but unsatisfied by other fluids, which may influence their meal intake. 

Limit their intake of pure juice to 4 ounces per day if you use diluted fruit juice.

Make Fluids Interesting

Colors and forms appear to captivate young children. In my case, I use colorful cups and fun-shaped straws to interest my kids in drinking water.

Keep Weather and Activities in Mind

I encourage fluid consumption for my kids before, during, and after physical activity.

You can encourage at least 4 ounces of liquids every 20 minutes or during a pause. An ounce of water equals one “gulp” from your child.

Include Foods That Are High in Water

Soups and fruits like watermelon, oranges, and grapes are high in water. For instance, I add lemon, lime, cucumber, or orange slices to make water more interesting and flavorful.

Other Drinks for Babies

Other Drinks for Babies

Babies aged 6 to 12 months should drink only breast milk, formula, and water. Babies over 12 months can drink cow’s milk or enriched soy beverages.

Since whole milk contains essential nutrients, it should be given to youngsters until they are at least two years old.

Other drinks that caregivers can provide to children over the age of 12 months include:

  • Goat and sheep milk that has been pasteurized
  • Soy, almond, and other milk alternatives are OK if they are unsweetened and calcium-fortified.

Drinks to Stay Away From

I advise you to avoid the following beverages:

  • Unpasteurized beverages
  • Beverages with added sugar
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Milk made from rice
  • Smoothies and fruit juice

Despite their nutritional value, fruit juices and smoothies contain naturally-occurring sugars and acids that can promote dental damage.

Children as young as 5 can have approximately 150 milliliters of undiluted fruit juice or smoothie daily.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Other moms frequently ask the following questions, so it’s important to mention them as well:

When Can Babies Drink Juice?

It is preferable to wait until a baby is a year old before offering them juice. Even in this situation, pediatricians advise against often giving juice to children. 

That’s because it adds more calories without providing the nutritional balance found in breast milk and formula.

Is Tap Water With Formula Safe for Babies?

Baby-safe tap water is generally available. Checking to determine if your tap water contains fluoride is preferable, though. 

The likelihood of developing dental fluorosis, which is indicated by subtle white spots on their teeth, increases when the formula is mixed with fluoridated tap water all the time. 

Use bottled water that contains little or no fluoride when preparing formulas to lessen the danger. Before ingesting the water, you might also wish to confirm its safety.

When Can Babies Drink Coconut Water?

Babies under six months old shouldn’t drink coconut water because it could cause allergic reactions. 

Because coconut water is known to have a lot of sugar and sodium, mixing it with rice before giving it to infants is advised to lessen the flavor.

Is It True That Breastfed Babies Require More Water Than Formula-Fed Newborns?

Breastmilk is 87% water; the formula is controlled and designed to look like breast milk. 

As a result, there is no reason breastfed newborns would require more water than formula-fed babies. 

After 6 months, all babies who have begun solid food should adhere to the same water guidelines, regardless of whether they are fed breastmilk or formula.

How Can I Tell if a Baby Is Getting Enough Water?

Your kid is appropriately hydrated if they have at least 6 wet diapers daily. 

This indicates they are obtaining enough fluid (including water) from various sources, including breastmilk, formula, water, and food.


Baby nutrition should only come from breast milk or infant formula for the first six months. These sources provide them with all the water they require.

Mamas can feed milk more often in humid conditions or when a baby develops a fever, but water is unnecessary.

Unpasteurized beverages are a no-no! It may contain bacteria that might be hazardous and sugary drinks contribute to tooth damage.

After your child turns one, it is the right decision to monitor their activity and provide them with plenty of access to water.

Nayna Llenos
Nayna Llenos

Hi, I’m Nayna!
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I’m lucky and blessed to have two wonderful children to care for and love.
Despite this blessing, there are times wherein I do wonder if I truly am the mother my children need. Am I giving them the right food, care, and discipline to them?
But that is the beauty of parenting — you grow along with your children as they flourish to be their wonderful selves!
I wish to share my experiences with motherhood and how these tips can help you in your parenting journey.
I hope my advices and experiences will prove useful to you and that you have a smooth and wonderful journey as a mother!