Water is one of the key components to life. Human beings need to consume water daily. Yet, babies don’t drink water right away. How do we know when to start baby on water? Discover the answer to that question and why we don’t want to give water to babies immediately in this article.
Don’t Give Babies Water Too Early
When babies first come out of the womb, they are supposed to get all of the nutrients and hydration they need from breast milk or formula. For the first six months of a baby’s life all they need to stay hydrated is the breast milk—even on a hot day. Why is this? Water will fill up your baby’s stomach too much and may decrease their appetite and leave them malnourished. Furthermore, it is easy to over hydrate a baby. This is also known as water intoxication. When the body is over hydrated there is too much water in the blood stream which will force the kidneys to flush out necessary sodium and electrolytes, which will leave your baby salt-depleted. This may result in triggering seizures or even a coma.
When an Infant Can Drink Water
If your baby is constipated your pediatrician may tell you to give your infant 2 ounces of water a day to help get their digestion back on track. However, this should only be done under the supervision of a pediatrician.
Can Formula be Diluted With Water?
While it is physically possible to dilute formula with water, it would be unsafe to do. If you dilute the formula you run the risk of malnutrition and water intoxication. This is because when the formula is thinned you reduce the density of nutrients in the formula. Your baby is only going to gobble so much of it, and so if it is thinned your baby receives fewer nutrients than they need. It is best to follow the package instructions for making formula and adding the amount of water it calls for – no more and no less.
What If They’re Dehydrated?
It is possible for an infant to become dehydrated when their bodies are under stress, such as when they have the stomach flu. Our best advice would be to contact your pediatrician for their expert advice. Do not be surprised if they advise you to give your baby measured doses of an electrolyte drink such as Pedialyte or Infalyte to prevent dehydration. If you suspect that your baby is dehydrated, contact your doctor immediately.
When to Start Junior Drinking Water
Babies can start sipping water at around 6 months old. However, you will not want to let them drink too much water because one of two things can happen. One, your child may end up with a tummy ache. Two, drinking too much water may fill up their belly which will decrease their appetite because they will already feel full.
Once your baby has reached their one year mark and they are eating solids it is okay to let them drink as much water as they would like.