When Can Babies Have Water?

Team Peanut7 months ago4 min read

Let’s admit it, there’s nothing quite like an ice cold drink of water on a hot day. Or after a workout. Or after one too many jalapeños on a slice of pizza… But when it comes to your little one, you might be sitting there thinking when is it safe to give a baby water? Is it OK to give babies water? Help, should my baby be drinking water?!

Baby drinking water

Keep reading, mama. Here’s everything you need to know about when to give baby water.

Table of Contents 📝

  • When should I introduce water to my baby?
  • How can babies have water?
  • Why can’t babies drink water earlier?
  • How much water can a 6 month old have?
  • When can babies have gripe water?

When should I introduce water to my baby?

It’s considered safe to start introducing water to your baby when they start solid foods. So if you’re wondering when can babies drink water?, the answer is often around six months of age, although it can be between 4-6 months depending on certain developmental factors.

That means, if you’re starting your solid food journey at the earlier end of the scale and thinking, can I give my 4 month old water?, the answer is yes.

Introducing water can help reduce the chance of constipation as your baby’s digestive system starts tackling bulky solids. Before then, though, breastmilk or formula should still be your baby’s main source of hydration.

How can babies have water?

You can offer small sips of water using a sippy cup, bottle, or small open cups designed for babies (they’re often made of safe materials like silicone). You can offer water at mealtimes or between meals to get your little one used to the flavor of water.

Why can’t babies drink water earlier?

Offering water to your baby earlier than 4-6 months can pose a few risks, due to their small stomach, immature digestive system, and developing brain function. A lot is going on inside that tiny body! At 6 months, the average baby’s stomach can only hold 7oz (that’s 207ml) of liquid, so it doesn’t take much for them to be full. By offering water to a young baby, you might:

Reduce their milk intake

Breastmilk or formula provides your baby with all the hydration, vitamins, and nutrients they need. By offering water, you risk filling up their tiny stomach with water (something essentially void of nutritional benefit) so they might feel full and refuse a milk feed. If they do this, they risk having poor weight gain (or even losing weight) and nutritional deficiencies.

Increase risk of water intoxication

Yep. This sounds scary! Water intoxication, also called Hyponatremia, is when drinking too much water becomes toxic. It causes sodium levels to drop and the kidneys become overwhelmed. In babies, water intoxication can result in vomiting, lethargy, and even seizures, and requires urgent medical attention.

It would be hard for your baby to drink this much water, so don’t stress too much. Just be aware that water intoxication is a possibility, especially if you regularly dilute your baby’s breast milk or formula with excess water.

How much water can a 6 month old have?

Even though it’s safe to offer water to your 6-month-old, they still don’t need to be chugging back their bottle like they’re at a keg party. You might expect your 6-month-old to drink around 2-4oz (around 60-120ml) of water each day, but it’s also absolutely fine if they don’t drink that much.

Breastmilk or formula is still the primary source of hydration and nutrition that your baby needs until they’re 12 months old. At this age, it’s still very much about experimenting with tastes and sensations.

When can babies have gripe water?

Gripe water is a whole different situation, as it’s a type of liquid herbal remedy — not actual water. Phew! Gripe water can be used to help colic-y babies and can be used from a younger age. Go for it, mama.

Read next:
What are the Best First Foods for a Baby?