You’ve probably wondered if your baby gets thirsty or if he needs 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 him 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 he starts 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 he turns one, he 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, for him, some of the components are still difficult to process and digest. These components can also have negative side effects such as altering the sleep cycle, increase irritability, diminish the concentration capacity, headaches or increase restlessness.

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

References:

Guidelines for offering water to babies
Starting solid foods
Recommended drinks for young children ages 0-5

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