Your Baby and Water

baby with a sippy
Water, it seems like such a simple thirst quencher. We've all heard that drinking water can be good for our skin and our health.

However, water may not be the best thing for your baby. In fact, it could be dangerous to their health.

Babies have sensitive digestive systems. The best diet before 6 months of age consists of either breast milk or formula. Period.

Generally, there is no reason to give your baby water before the age of 6 months. Of course, a little is fine if you are mixing it in with formula as the directions indicate. However, do use caution and carefully follow the directions provided on the label.

Even if your baby suffers from an upset stomach or diarrhea, your doctor will most likely recommend an electrolyte drink to help prevent dehydration.

Why not water?

Although water is known as a pure and simple drink, water intake by the youngest babies may inhibit the absorption of essential nutrients by your baby's body.

Additionally, a baby who consumes too much water may become ill due to “water intoxication.” This is an ailment caused by too much water intake that dilutes the amount of sodium within the body. Unfortunately, water intoxication has been known to cause seizures and comas within infants.

In addition to these risk factors, water for babies under the age of 6 months carries no nutritional benefit. In fact, water consumption may lead your baby to feeling full, making them reject breast milk or formula that contains the appropriate nutrition they need.

When can your baby enjoy water? Always check with your pediatrician, but generally, the rule is children over the age of 12 months old can consume water as they wish. Of course, as a parent, you may decide everything is best consumed in moderation, including water.

H2O, who would have thought there is so much to know?

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Your Baby and Water

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23 comments

  1. louise says:

    wow my daughter took her 3 month old to the dr the other day for consipation and the dr told her to give him water to help with it, now we read it is not good for him , so who do we believe? this site or her pediatrician ?

    • Megan Klay says:

      Hi Louise – Go with what your pediatrician recommends, but pay close attention to the amount you’re giving baby as well. We hope this helps to clear up baby’s constipation soon!

  2. MeganBrown says:

    My son is a month old and my pediatrician said I could give him max an ounce of water a day especially if when he cries he doesn’t produce tears to rehydrate him. He’s doing fine on it no problems.

  3. Leslie says:

    My had water at two months from cereal. She did fine.

  4. mommy nhoj says:

    Pedia said she can have up to 4-6 oz a day. But she hardly drink any. But I am trying to let her drink whenever possible. She’s 10 months old

  5. EbyMom says:

    Wow it is good to know. I never knew babies don’t drink water til I came into the country. My sis was the one that told me when i had my baby that babies food are breast milk and formula and both contains water.

  6. KaelinRae says:

    Wow, I had never really thought about that.

  7. Mama says:

    Scary. Hard to believe a tiny bit of water could do so much harm. Moderation is key 🙂

  8. Wow, Leah – that sounds terrifying! So glad that things turned out alright for your family. That’s a hard way to learn something like this!

  9. Leah Beake says:

    This actually happened to one of my twins. I didn’t know what was wrong with her so I took her to the ER. She ended up n a coma & they said I got her there just n time! While at the hospital my mother n law admitted she had been giving her extra water in her formula! Thank God she is ok now. Adults can get water intoxication also.

  10. krsy001 says:

    I didn’t know that. Water intoxication, I didn’t know such a thing existed!

  11. Angela says:

    My baby is only on breastmilk. I don’t do formula, and don’t give her water. I didn’t know that babies could get water intoxication. Yikes!

  12. marylove says:

    Any time either of my boys had the hick ups I gave them water and their Dr. said it was fine… I started around the 2 month mark… It’s really hard and painfull to try to breastfeed a baby that has the hick ups! lol

  13. Leslie says:

    My pediatrician told me to wait until after she was 6 months. She is 7 months and I give her water. Especially when it is as hot as it was today.

  14. meredith says:

    I’ve never heard to wait until after 12 months.

  15. Leeana says:

    interesting especially since my pediatrician said my baby can have water when she was three months

  16. Jess1477 says:

    Didnt know this!

  17. We’re glad you found us, too! Thanks for being an involved and active member!

  18. MommyMagic says:

    It’s great to have a place to share this type of information and ideas. Presenting parents with the guidelines is a wonderful way to get us thinking and researching what is appropriate for each child as an individual.

    I’m sooooo glad I found this site!

  19. MommyMagic says:

    A bit of misinformation and overlooked circumstances in this article. There are actually multiple instances in which a baby can/should be given water. All babies are different so if you take anything away from this article, it should be to consult your child’s pediatrician!

  20. Thanks for your feedback. As it stands, the article follows the guidelines set forth by the AAP for giving water to babies. We make every effort to responsibly update our information on the site, while staying in line with medical research.

    Of course you are right that if you have any questions, the best resource to begin with is your pediatrician. Thanks!

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