When to give your baby water

When to give your baby water

Breastmilk or formula is enough fluid before 6 months

Lucille Beseler, RDN

Is co-author of Nurturing with Nutrition and a former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics representing over 100,000 Nutrition professionals, while also active as a clinical dietitian in South Florida.

Article in collaboration with: Melanie Bazarte, PhD
give your baby water

Dehydration might require medical attention

  • Babies don't need water until after 6 months.
    • Babies under 6 months only need their breastmilk or formula, which contains all the water they need.
    • In fact, their kidneys can't concentrate their urine, so drinking water can fluid loss and dehydration.
    • Fluoridated water given before 6 months may cause mottling (brown spots) on teeth.
  • After 6 months, accustom your baby to the taste of water with an ounce or two in a bottle or cup; good for rinsing gums and teeth before bedtime, especially if the water is fluoridated to help prevent cavities.
    • Check to see if your tap water is fluoridated. Bottle water is not fluoridated unless it says so on the label.
  • When sterilizing water for formula or cereal, boil it no longer than a couple of minutes to avoid mineral concentration.
  • Signs of dehydration that require medical attention
    • No wet diapers
    • Listlessness
    • Dry mouth and eyes – no tears, no saliva
    • Sunken eyes, sunken soft spot
    • Loose skin that does not spring back when pinched. 

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