When and how do I introduce water to my baby? This is a question that we get from a lot of parents, and it’s an extremely important one. Though drinking plenty of water is fundamental to a proper adult diet, a baby’s needs are specialized. Below are the top 5 questions parents ask us about introducing water.
1. Is breastmilk or formula enough to hydrate baby?
Yes, breastmilk and formula provide adequate hydration for babies for the first 6 months of baby’s life. There is no need for additional fluids, such as water, before the introduction of solid foods, which typically occurs around 6 months of age. Remember, babies should continue to drink breastmilk or formula until the age of 1, at which point whole milk and water can be regularly consumed. They will also receive hydration from the natural water content of fruits and vegetables that they consume.
2. When can I introduce water?
You can begin to introduce water as soon as your baby begins solid foods. Once your baby is ready for water, you can begin slowly introducing it by offering it to them in a baby bottle, or in slow-flow sippy cup. You can also offer it to them in an open cup if they are ready. Make sure to carefully supervise baby to make sure that they don’t drink too much at once.
3. How much water can they have once they begin drinking water?
Since milk will still be their primary source of fluids, they don’t need much water. In fact, too much water can be a bad thing. In the beginning, they may only take 1-2 sips. From then on, you can offer them water, however, don’t worry if they reject it. As with rejecting food because they aren’t hungry, they may reject water simply because they aren’t thirsty.
4. What about juice?
Try to avoid juice as much as possible. Juice is sugary which has health ramifications, including raising blood sugar, increasing the risk of obesity and the potential to decay the teeth.
5. How do I spot dehydration in my baby?
The most common scenario in which your baby would be dehydrated is if they’re sick with either diarrhea, vomiting or are refusing to eat/drink milk due to a sore throat. Some signs of dehydration include:
Less than 6 wet diapers within 24 hours
Dark yellow colored urine
Dry skin / lips
Overall lack of interest and energy
Remember, talk to your pediatrician if you’re worried that your baby may be dehydrated.