Babies get their hydration from milk in the first six months, but we get a lot of questions about water as well. Here’s what you need to know about giving your baby water.
When to introduce water to a weaning baby
If your baby is exclusively breastfed they do not need any additional water. When you introduce solids you may offer them water as well if you wish.
Water can be given as an additional drink, or to help wash out their mouth at the end of a meal. If your baby is over 6 months you do not need to boil the water first.
Can formula fed babies drink cooled boiled water?
If you want to give your formula fed baby some top up water you can offer water that’s been boiled and left to cool down. It may be appropriate in very hot weather to offer small amounts in addition to their regular milk feeds.
We don’t want to give them too much because if they fill up their tiny tummies with water they may take less milk, and so reduce the nutrient intake. This could affect weight gain, and the amount of important vitamins and minerals they need.
When can babies drink water?
Babies can have water as an additional drink once they are eating food.
Most of the recommendations for starting weaning are to wait until around 6 months. Breastmilk or formula is still their main liquid until age 12 months.
How to offer your baby water
Try using a sippy cup to offer water. Select a free-flowing cup, without a non-drip valve. These cups are so good at stopping the spills it can be difficult for babies to get the water out with their very small mouths.
Open top cups are also a good way to start giving your baby tap water, but this can be a little messy until they get the hang of not spilling it.
What if my baby doesn’t like water?
Many babies struggle to drink water at first.
It is a very different experience sipping water into the front of the mouth which then needs to be swallowed. You may find your baby dribbles most of it back down their front!
With a bottle or from a nipple the milk goes directly to the back of the mouth and babies are less likely to spill it out of the mouth.
If you’d like some support with Baby Weaning contact us for 1:1 support or a group class.
Anna Mapson supports busy parents to get family nutrition right, taking away the stress if feeding your family. In Bristol or online via video call
- Weaning Consultations & Group Classes
- Children’s Nutrition Consultations (e.g. fussy eating, constipation, eczema, healthy growth, behaviour)