Caring for an infant is not easy, and new parents find themselves questioning their every move. Can my baby wear that? Is it okay for her to sleep like this? Can she eat that? And one question that is extremely common during summers is this: ‘Can I give my baby water?’. Water is the elixir of life, and necessary for every living organism to survive, so the answer to this question should seem obvious, but it isn’t so!! Here, we clear the confusion regarding giving water to children of different ages, since a child’s water requirement differs depending upon his age.
Can I give water to a baby who’s less than 6 months old?
WHO strongly advises against giving babies water before 6 months, since an exclusively breastfed baby doesn’t need water at this age. More than 80% of breast milk is water, especially the first feed. This is enough to quench your baby’s thirst even in hot weather. Breastfeeding on demand is the best way to satisfy the baby’s water needs. Even formula fed babies do not need water before 6 months. If the weather is extremely hot outside, it is better to increase the number of feeds rather than offering water to your baby.
Risks of giving water before 6 months:
1. Water will fill the baby’s stomach, making her drink less breast milk or stop breastfeeding early.
2, Giving water to young infants can pave the way for diarrhoea and malnutrition.
3. Feeding too much water can lead to Water intoxication in babies
Can I give water to a baby older than 6 months, after starting solids?
If you have started solids for your baby, you can offer her water in small sips from an open, free flow cup during mealtimes. This kind of cup doesn’t have a valve, and is easier for babies to sip from. Some have strong valves, which means there is no risk of spillage but there’s not much chance of your baby getting water from it either! As long as he is producing six (or more) wet nappies in 24 hours or has a good urine stream and the urine is pale, there is no need for concern.
Here’s a good tip from Wholesome Baby Food
A great way to get baby to use a sippy cup is to fill it with water and ice. The ice will make noise as it sloshes about and pique baby’s curiosity. Water is better than juice and giving water over juice will instill a love of this healthy and necessary liquid!
How much water does a toddler need?
It’s impossible to say how much water any individual – baby, child or adult – needs in a day. It depends on many variables, for instance, their own metabolism, their level of activity, the weather, and the foods they have eaten that day (many foods naturally contain large amounts of liquid and others very little).
Should we give babies boiled water?
Before feeding your baby, check that the water is not too hot by shaking a few drops on the inside of your wrist .