This blog is written by Aliza Carr from Bumpnbub.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that babies under 6 months of age do not require water. The only fluid babies of this age require is breastmilk and/or formula for food as well as hydration. Breastmilk and formula are nutritionally complete foods for them to grow and develop.
For babies 6-12 months of age, breastmilk and formula are still really important for their growth and should not be replaced, but they can also have water for additional hydration. After 6 months of age or when your baby is ready for solids, this is also a great time for water to be introduced with meals.
Three great benefits of introducing water include:
- Extra fluid with solids will help your baby to avoid constipation
- Water will assist bub stay hydrated, especially in summer or warmer climates
- Introducing water from 6 months contributes to their development in learning to hold a cup or water bottle and moving it towards their mouth to drink from it
When you start giving your baby water (after 6 months), it should be boiled and cooled down before offering it. Begin to encourage sips of water at meal times or any time during the day that your child is calm and willing to try it. Water, breastmilk and formula are the only drinks your baby should have until they are over 12 months old.
After 12 months old, you can offer tap water without boiling it. From this age, water should be their main drink, complementing with breastmilk depending on parental preference.
How much water your child needs does depend on their age.
At 6-12 months of age, anywhere from 100-250ml of water per day is recommended. Remembering at this age, water isn’t their main source of hydration, it is more about developing healthy habits and getting them used to drinking from a cup.
After 12 months old, you should begin to encourage your little one to drink more water, aiming for around 1-4 cups per day. To help encourage your toddler to drink water, lead by example so they can see you drinking water frequently, always have water close by at meal times and take water bottles with you when going out and about.
If you are worried about dehydration, always remember to monitor your baby's output. They should be having 6-7 wet nappies per day, with no dark, concentrated urine. If you are struggling to get your child to drink water, take them to pick out a new special cup and offer foods high in water content (watermelon, cucumber etc).
This blog is general advice only and does not replace the need for medical advice. For any questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider.