Can I Give My Baby Water?

If you’re a parent or a soon to be parent, chances are that at some point you’re going to be paranoid… about everything. This includes something as little as giving your baby water. Turns out your worries are not unfounded. If you’re thinking about giving your baby water, you should think again.

Can My Baby Drink Water If He or She’s Dehydrated?

While you want to keep your baby hydrated, as a general rule, giving your baby water is a big no-no until they are about 6 months old.

Until that age, they get all the necessary hydration from formula or breast milk. Dehydration is a condition that should be taken seriously.

If you think that your baby is not getting enough liquid, contact your doctor. In a medical situation, your doctor may advise giving your baby Pedialyte or other electrolyte drinks.

You’ll know if your baby is hydrated by counting the wet diapers. Until they are 6 months of age, they should have at least 6 wet diapers every day.

Signs of dehydration that you can look include having fewer bowel movements, being excessively sleepy or fussy, cool discolored feet and hands, wrinkled skin or sunken eyes.

Why Is Giving Your Baby Water Dangerous?

Until they are 6 months old, the kidneys of the baby are not mature enough to filter plain water correctly. Therefore, your baby is susceptible to water intoxication.

Water intoxication could lead to seizures or even a coma. This happens when the concentration of sodium in your baby’s body is diluted by too much water. This causes tissues to swell as a result of upsetting the electrolyte balance.

Even when they are 6 months old, if a baby drinks too much water, it can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from formula or breast milk. Moreover, his stomach will feel full. In this situation, your baby won’t eat.

Can I Give My Baby Water After 6 Months of Age?

Once they are 6 months old, giving your baby water in small amounts is safe. However, only offer little bits of water at a time. Babies don’t need water as much as grown-ups.

Remember, water will not replace formula or breast milk. Both are very necessary for the first year of a baby’s life.

Until they are 12 months old, giving your baby water should be seen only as practice. This means you should only offer a few sips every now and then. During this time, your baby will get used to the sippy-cup.

The idea is to get the little one familiar to drinking water. Once your baby is at least a 9-month-old, they can drink a few ounces of water every day.

Can I Dilute Formula with Water?

If you add too much water, not only it increases the risk of water intoxication, but the baby might end up getting fewer nutrients from the formula.

Moreover, too much water could mess up their electrolyte balance. In order to avoid complications, simply stick to the recommendations or use breast milk instead. When making formula you should follow the directions on the package and use the amount of water that is recommended.

Bonus: Drinking Juice?

Pediatrician Catherine Pound advises that when giving your baby juice, use only real fruit juice. Lastly, do not exceed more than 4oz/day.

Conclusion: Give Your Baby Water Only at Certain Ages

Let’s recap what we learned about giving baby water:

  • Giving your baby water is unsafe until they are at least 6 months old
  • Small amounts of water are enough
  • Diluting formula with too much water is dangerous
  • Giving your baby water will not replace formula/breastmilk