image001 Water is an important component of the body. Every cell of the body depends on water for proper functioning. Parents are therefore hopeful that they can start their babies early on learning the healthy habit of drinking water. But when can babies drink water? Before giving your little baby some water, read these useful tips for when and how you can introduce water to babies.

When Can Babies Drink Water´╝č

Experts believe that it is not a good idea to give babies water until they are about six months old. Babies usually get enough hydration from breast milk or their formula even when the weather is hot. This is because too much water can cause the baby's tummy to be full, which can reduce the desire to feed and interfere with the absorption of nutrients from milk. Small sips of water may not hurt the baby but it is advisable to consult the doctor before giving a baby some water before six months of age. The timeline below will specifically show you when babies can drink water.



From birth - 3 months

Newborns should not be given water. Having a tiny belly, a newborn baby must not be given a bottle with water, which would fill its belly and take the place of milk. In addition, too much water will disturb the normal balance of electrolytes in their bodies and can affect brain and heart function.

From 4-6 months

Although giving some water to infant of this age is not dangerous, it is not necessary. Research shows breastfed babies do not need additional water even in tropical places when temperatures can rise above 100°F daily. Babies who feed on milk formula may be given some water (about an ounce or even two) during hot weather, but it is best to ask your pediatrician for advice. Water should never take the place of breast milk and formula should not be diluted with additional water.

Around 5-7 months

Babies of this age are able to hold objects and can learn drinking liquids from a cup. Give your baby a sippy cup that does not have a valve, so he can suck easily. Choose one which can hold 4-6 ounces of liquid, and fill it up to the top so your baby does not need to tilt his head up when sipping. A large cup filled with water may be too heavy for a small baby to use.

When can babies drink water? You may watch this video to learn more about it:

How Can I Introduce Water to Babies?

After knowing when can babies drink water, you might want to know how you can feed water to your baby. 

1. The Basics

Experts agree that introducing small amounts to a baby who is at least six months old is not harmful but it is not necessary. Some parents give their babies water to drink after they eat solid foods that are high in protein, such as eggs. Others also give extra water to their infants when they are constipated or when they have diarrhea. Ask your doctor about initiating water for drinking at this age.

2. Is It Okay to Introduce Bottled Water?

  • Natural mineral water. Although natural mineral water is pure, its mineral content, particularly calcium, is too high for babies.
  • Spring water. Spring water also contains a lot of sodium and minerals, and must be avoided.
  • Other types of water (or table water). They may be more suitable for babies because they have appropriate amounts of minerals. Ask your doctor about the right choice of water to give your baby. Remember to put the lid back on after opening and using a bottle of water.
  • Store bottled water properly. Store the bottle in a cool place (< 10ºC) to prevent bacteria from growing. If the water is not consumed within one day, boil the rest of it before giving it to the baby.
  • Fluoride. Another thing to remember is that bottled water does not contain fluoride, which is important for healthy teeth. If you opt to continue giving bottled water to your baby after weaning, talk to the doctor about giving fluoride supplements to the baby.

3. When to Introduce a Cup

A baby usually starts learning to sip from a cup at six to seven months, and he later manages to do this on his own by the age of one year. Support your baby in an upright position when using the sippy cup. Your baby may splutter and cough initially as he learns how to suck and swallow water while drinking. However, he may also enjoy squirting water from his mouth and get himself wet in the process. This is a normal part of learning to drink from a sippy cup. You can also train him with some assistance to drink using an open cup.

Other Things You Should Know

1. Do Not Give Babies Too Much Water

  • Water intoxication. Giving too much water to a baby can lead to water intoxication. This happens when excess amounts of water dilute the electrolytes in the baby’s blood. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are important for normal body functions and diluting these can lead to serious problems such as seizures.
  • Do not add too much water when feeding formula.Diluting your baby's milk formula does not only lead to water intoxication, it also results in your baby taking in fewer calories and nutrients which he needs. Always follow package directions for preparing your baby's formula and do not exceed the amount of water recommended.
  • Other serious results of feeding babies with too much water

Serious Results


Missing out essential nutrition

Babies whodrink more water to satisfy their appetite will lack the proper amounts of nutrients from milk. They are at risk of losing weight when this is done regularly.

Decrease the supply of breast-milk

When breastfed babies drink more water the mother loses their ability to produce more breast milk because the demand for milk decreases.

Other cases

Doctors often advise parents to give their babies an electrolyte drink such as Pedialyte when they have diarrhea or gastroenteritis. These drinks help replace lost electrolytes and prevent dehydration.

2. Give Water to Babies Without Anything Else in It

Water is a healthy drink for adults and children alike. Help your baby learn the habit of drinking water without anything else in it. Filtered water from the tap is usually healthy and safe. You may want to check with the Department of Public Works in your area to find out if your water source is flouridated or has any contaminants like lead. If your tap water is tested to be safe, you do not need to use bottled water, which can just increase your expenses and add to environmental waste. If you are advised to boil your water for drinking or cooking, boil only for three minutes to kill harmful bacteria without concentrating the mineral content of water.

3. Should I Introduce Juice to Babies?

Fruit juice contains a lot of sugar and extra calories. These can cause dental cavities, diarrhea and diaper rash. It is therefore not essential to a baby's diet. You can give your baby fruit juice as a treat, limiting his intake to 4-6 oz. per day. You can also dilute the juice with equal amounts of water to reduce the amount of sugar bathing their teeth.

It is advisable to use sippy cups only for drinking water to prevent leaving traces of fruit juice or milk in the cup. You can give your baby diluted fruit juice or milk from an open cup, which he can use during meals at the table.