When and how to introduce drinking water to your baby
Given that we need water to survive, you might be forgiven for thinking that babies need water too. But breast milk and formula actually contains all the necessary water and nutrients to keep them healthy and hydrated. Indeed, while adults need water to survive, it can be dangerous for babies, at least until they are more than 6 months old.
The dangers of water for babies
Drinking too much water at any age can be dangerous but at a very young age, it can lead to an imbalance of sodium levels in the body. This can lead to everything from seizures to serious brain damage. There is also the risk of water intoxication, which can present itself as confusion and drowsiness, nausea and vomiting or muscle cramps. If you notice these symptoms in your child after they have been drinking water, contact a doctor immediately.
When can babies start drinking water?
Up until they are six months old, all infants should be subsisting on a diet of just breast milk or formula. Even then, breast milk and formula is going to be more important, at least until their first birthday. At this stage, you should start introducing water into their diets in increments.
To ensure they are only getting the best and cleanest water, consider investing in a water filter or softener to get rid of any potential traces of lead or other contaminants that could make your baby sick. Distilled water also works but you’ll save a lot of time and money in the long run by getting a filter installed.
Mixing water with formula
The general rule when mixing formula using tap water is that you mix one single bottle worth at a time. A common practice among new parents is to boil water to sterilise the bottle and then put it in the fridge to cool it down. This water should always be used within 24 hours and it should always be cool before you mix the formula.
Generally, the formula will have instructions on the packaging for you to follow. Stick to the instructions and don’t use too much formula or you can leave your baby constipated and even dehydrated. Use too little formula, meanwhile, and you could accidentally give your child water intoxication.
Water as they grow
Once your little one evolves into a full-blown toddler, they are going to start requiring water to stay healthy. Typically speaking a child between the age of 1 and 3 should be consuming at least 4 cups of liquid per day. This doesn’t need to be just water though. It can also include formula, breast milk and juice.
If your little one is being stubborn when it comes to their hydration, meanwhile, there are a few tips you can turn to:-
- Try to make the water seem more enticing by putting some fresh fruit in it.
- If they won’t drink as much water, encourage them to eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in water content.
- Freeze juices and turn them into icy lollypops.
- Use cups decorated with their favourite colours and cartoon characters to make the act of drinking feel more entertaining.
- Remind them that they need it to grow strong and healthy.
- Don’t give up!