As your baby continues to grow, you might find yourself pondering the appropriate timing for introducing water into their diet. You might question whether breast milk or formula suffices to keep them hydrated or if they require additional hydration. While you may have heard that water is discouraged for babies under 6 months, you might be interested in potential exceptions. Given the various developmental phases a baby experiences in their first year, it’s natural to feel uncertain about transitioning to new stages, especially considering the evolving recommendations for infant feeding.
In our quest for clarity, we consulted experts to gain deeper insights into when babies can drink water, the suitable quantity of water, and how to handle situations where a finicky baby shows an aversion to water.
At What Point Babies Can Drink Water?
During the early stages of infancy, babies often exhibit heightened hunger, especially during cluster feeding. You may wonder whether your baby’s fussiness is caused by thirst as a parent. Water is not recommended for infants under 6 months of age, however.
Unlike adults, babies don’t require water for hydration as they obtain the necessary fluids through alternative sources. Thus, if your 6-month-old baby initially shows little interest in water, you can be reassured that the intake of breast milk or formula will adequately address their thirst.
Why Is Water Not Recommended for Babies Under 6 Months?
Introducing water to infants below the age of 6 months carries certain risks. Most notably, if a baby fills up on water, it could hinder their ability to consume essential nutrients. Providing water to infants at this stage increases the likelihood of reduced intake of breast milk or formula, thereby depriving them of vital nutrients.
Sustaining a regular feeding schedule of formula or breast milk is vital for ensuring optimal growth in infants, supplying them with the essential vitamins their bodies require. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers guidelines for feeding infants: at 6 months, babies might consume up to eight ounces of formula and/or breast milk every four to five hours.
Parents should also exercise caution regarding the quantity of water given to babies under one year of age. The safest approach is to entirely avoid offering water to babies aged less than 6 months.
Are There Any Situations Where Babies Can Drink Water?
Parents might contemplate exceptions to this rule. For instance, what if a baby is dealing with constipation or running a fever? Can water be administered in such cases?
However, medical experts unanimously discourage giving water to babies below 6 months of age, even if they seem uncomfortable due to constipation or fever. In such scenarios, babies are better off increasing their intake of breast milk or formula to address their needs.
Nevertheless, it’s imperative to seek guidance from a pediatrician or healthcare professional before introducing anything other than breast milk or formula to a young baby. If your baby displays signs of fever or constipation, consulting a healthcare professional is recommended.