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Are Infants Allowed to Drink Water?


When you are thirsty, you drink water.  Can your baby have some too?

Did you know that babies are made up of more water than adults?  Babies are born consisting of about 78% of water, then drops down to about 65%.  Parents can have anywhere between 55-60% of water in their bodies based on the amount of fat they have.  It is important to stay hydrated to survive so that it can maintain proper organ health, body regulation, and even digestion to name a few. 

Babies drink breast milk or baby formula.  Are they allowed to partake in water? When can they do that?  

Why Don’t Infants Drink Water?

Sometimes adults get water in the foods they eat such as vegetables like cucumbers or or fruits like strawberries.  Babies get all of the hydration they need in the food they eat. Breast milk and baby formula are easy for your baby to digest, and it consists of enough fluids for their own water intake for the first six months.  

Babies under six months of age don’t need water because it can actually keep them from absorbing the nutrients in their regular food. Water is also very filling, so your baby may not be hungry for a bottle or a breast if they have water still in them.

Another reason to not offer water just yet is the risk of water intoxication.  When your little one takes in too much water, this rare incident can cause seizures.  Even worse, your baby could go into a coma because the water dilutes the sodium balance in the body.  This is another reason why the ratio of formula powder to water is crucial when making every bottle.

When Can Your Baby Drink Water?

After six months, you can introduce a little bit of water if your baby is thirsty.  They are not ready for a whole bottle yet, but it may be fun for them to try. It is also less messy when they are starting to drink from a sippy cup or an open cup by themselves.  On a hot summer day, even a little ice sensory play can cool them down and wet their lips a bit. All that is needed is a bowl of ice cubes. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to offer too much water at once because it can make them feel too full or miss out on calories that aid in their growth and development.

Edited and reposted from December 2018 

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