Water can actually be very dangerous for babies. Babies can survive on breast milk and/or formula alone for the first 6 months without needing any supplemental food or water.
Breast milk and formula both provide all of the hydration that a baby needs. Adding water to this can lead to serious side effects.
– Your baby can fill up on water, lowering her breast milk/formula intake. This would lower the calories and nutrients that your baby is consuming and be very serious to her health.
– Too much water can also lead to a serious condition called water intoxication. Water intoxication can lead to a drastic change in sodium levels in the body which can cause seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Here are a few rules to keep in mind:
– Babies under 2 months of age should not be given any water.
– Babies 3-4 months of age can be given a few sips of water (after they’ve consumed breast milk/or formula). This way they are not filling up on water, but can experiment with sippy cups and tasting the flavor.
We started giving Caroline a straw sippy cup at 3 months of age, and she took right to it. So glad we started at this age getting her comfortable with the cup!
– Babies 4-6 months of age should be given no more than 2-4 oz of water in a 24 hour period.
– Babies on solid food can be given a glass of water with their meals. This will help them get used to the flavor and the act of drinking from a sippy cup.
My rule (and our doctor agreed), was that babies can be given no more ounces than their age in months. (Example: if baby is 7 months old, they should not exceed 7 ounces of water per day).
Again, water should only be given once baby is full on breastmilk/formula/solids).
-Once they reach toddlerhood at 1 year, their water consumption can increase! From 1-3 years of age, their fluid intake should be about 44 ounces.
About 20% of this will come from foods that contain moisture (fruits, vegetables, soup, etc). The rest should come from milk and plain water.