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When to Start Giving Water to Your Baby? Complete Guide for New Mothers!

Apr 21, 2017

It’s natural to feel apprehensive about your newborn’s needs. You have a hard time figuring out why your baby’s crying. Is it because she needs food or is she in pain? It’s difficult to determine. Another important question arises. Whether you should only give her milk or does she also need water?

There is no dearth of advice providers who’ll come up with all kinds of baby advice. Just when you think that you’re about to get a grasp of your baby’s needs, the contradicting advice you get shakes your newfound confidence. So, if your mom or mother-in-law advises you to give extra water to your baby and you feel tempted to try it, turn away from the temptation. Here’s why.

Your breast milk is enough for your baby

Despite what your family members might say, you should know that until your baby starts eating solid foods, she gets all the water she needs from breast milk or formula. Your breast milk or baby formula keeps your baby hydrated, even on hot days. The only time you can make an exception to this rule is when your baby is sick and is losing fluids due to vomiting or diarrhoea. However, consult your paediatrician before trying out anything on your own.

Water is harmful to your new-born baby

Unless she’s very sick and is losing fluids rapidly, you don’t need to give her water. If you keep making her sip water, it can cause problems like weight loss, and in the case of breastfed babies, it can decrease your supply of breast milk. If you feed large amounts of water to your baby, it may result in oral water intoxication, a condition in which the electrolytes become diluted in your baby’s bloodstream. This may lead to serious problems like low body temperatures and seizures.

Avoid juices

Your baby has a tiny tummy, and if you fill it up with juice or water, there will be no room for milk, which is the primary source of nutrition for her. You have to wait until your baby can start having solid foods (between four and six months of age). After that, you can consult your paediatrician about giving her juices or other beverages.

The right time to give water

Start giving your baby small sips of water after she turns 6 months old. Don’t overdo it. Give her water only when she is thirsty and not when you feel that she’s thirsty. If you make her drink too much of water, she may suffer from a tummy ache or feel too full and may not eat well.

Dehydration in babies

In some instances where your baby has stomach flu (gastroenteritis), you should take her to the doctor immediately. Doctors usually prescribe electrolyte drinks to make up for the loss of water. In such cases, you may give small sips of water after consulting the doctor so that your baby doesn’t get dehydrated. But you must make sure that you treat her to clean drinking water only.

So, stick to the breast milk or formula until your baby is 6 months old and after that period provide her pure drinking water only when she is thirsty. Install a smart water purifier at home to ensure this. For more information, consult your paediatrician.

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