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Can babies drink water?

older baby drinking water

Key points:

  1. Babies do not need to drink water before they are six months old as breast milk or formula contains all the water they require.
  2. Introducing water to a baby’s diet should be done once they start eating solids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  3. Toddlers between 12 and 24 months old should drink between 232 and 928 ml of water daily.
  4. It is recommended to avoid giving babies sugary, caffeinated, or artificially sweetened beverages as they may have negative side effects.

You’ve probably wondered if your baby gets thirsty or if they need to drink water. The answer to these questions is: no.

Actually, babies don’t need to drink water before they are six months old. Before they reach that age, your little one feeds from breast milk or formula, and these two sources of nutrients contain all the water your child needs. So there’s no need to give them extra water. On one side, if you’re breastfeeding, your milk contains a high percentage of water. On the other, the formula will require a certain amount of water to be dissolved in; be careful not to exceed the suggested amount.

The reason why babies shouldn’t drink water before they’re six months old is that it can cause intoxication or alter their electrolyte balance. However, there are special cases (for example, if your baby has been vomiting a lot), where your child might be dehydrated. In these circumstances, you should talk to your pediatrician to know how to proceed.

It is recommended to introduce water to your baby’s diet once they start eating solids. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies between 6 and 12 months should drink between 116 and 232 ml of water per day. While toddlers between 12 and 24 months should drink between 232 and 928 ml daily. This quantity will increase as your child grows. For example, children between 2 and 5 years old, should drink between 232 and 1,160 ml of water per day. This is because, as they grow, children do new activities that might make them thirsty, like playing or participating in physical activities.

However, your child can also drink liquids other than water. Once they turn one, they can start drinking other beverages like cow milk. Also, it is very likely that your little one will be exposed to other kinds of beverages like natural juice, flavored milk, nut milk, artificially sweetened beverages, sugary beverages, or ones that contain caffeine. Try to avoid giving your child any of these, since some of the components are still difficult for them to process and digest. These components can also have negative side effects such as altering the sleep cycle, increasing irritability, diminishing concentration capacity, headaches or increasing restlessness.

So, in conclusion, you should introduce water until your baby is six months old or, in special cases, when your pediatrician recommends it.

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