Can Babies Drink Water?
If you guzzle water all day like it's going out of style, then you may be curious about your baby's hydration habits. After all, kids get thirsty too. But can babies drink water safely, and at what age should you introduce H2O to your little one?
Although you may be tempted to give your infant sips of water, especially on a hot day, it's probably a good idea to refrain from doing so. According to Baby Center, babies under about six months of age should not drink any water, because they get all of their hydration needs met from breast milk or formula. It's just unnecessary. Keep in mind that breast milk is about 90 percent water, as noted in Very Well, so your little one is probably properly hydrated from his feedings alone. Babies are efficient like that.
Additionally, there may be some risks involved if you give water to very young babies. As explained by the World Health Organization (WHO), giving infants water may put them at risk of malnutrition by encouraging them to drink less breastmilk. This, in turn, could even decrease your milk supply, as further noted by the WHO. Even though your intentions are perfectly good, giving your baby water may actually cause him some health problems.
What about instances in which your baby becomes sick and dehydrated from stomach troubles? This can be the exception to the rule, as noted in What to Expect, and you may want to offer your baby water if he's had diarrhea or other stomach troubles. However, you will probably want to check with your physician to determine how much water (or electrolyte drink) is safe to give your baby.
Of course, the water ban is not forever. Generally, once your baby is old enough to start enjoying some solid foods, he can also have some water in his diet, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The exact age will depend on your own baby's development and weight. But according to Baby Center, most infants are ready for solid foods and a bit of water around six months of age. After that, you are free to teach your baby all about the benefits of proper hydration.