When to Give A Baby Water.

Drinking water helps with hydration but what about for babies? 

How much water do they need especially in summer on the Gold Coast?

Drinking Water Before 6 Months.

Six months prior, breastmilk or formula serves as both nourishment and hydration for your baby. It is sufficient, even during hot weather, as breastmilk provides all the essential nutrients and components your baby requires at this stage. Introducing water to your baby’s diet might reduce their intake of breastmilk or formula, potentially hindering their proper growth. 

Offering excessive water or overly diluted formula to your baby can lead to serious health issues. This is because an excess of water can impact the balance of certain nutrients in your baby’s bloodstream, posing a significant risk. Excessively large amount of water could even be life-threatening.


When to Start Giving Water to a Baby

If your baby is 6 months old, you can introduce small amounts of boiled and cooled tap water, but remember not to substitute it for breastmilk or formula feeds. Between 6 and 12 months of age, breastmilk or formula should remain their primary source of hydration.

After turning 12 months of age, water along with cow’s milk or breastmilk should be their main beverages. You can offer these liquids in a cup without the need to boil tap water once your baby is a year old.

Once your baby starts eating solids, provide water in a cup during meals. This practice can help them get accustomed to using a cup and reduce the risk of constipation. Encourage them to drink from a cup regularly, as this will become their primary way of drinking starting from 12 months onwards.

Giving Water in the Summer Months

In hot weather, it is important to offer breastfeeds or bottle-feeds more often if your baby is under 6 months. Avoid offering water unless recommended by a doctor.

Your baby may want to drink more often than usual and for shorter periods. If you are breastfeeding during the summer seasons, you should also make sure that you drink enough water for you and your baby.

To make breastfeeding more comfortable for you and your baby in hot weather:

  • Body heat can make it uncomfortable to feed. Place a dry or moist towel, sheet or pillowcase between yourself and your baby to reduce body heat and skin contact.
  • Lie down to breastfeed this can help to reduce skin contact.

You will know that your baby is properly hydrated (getting enough fluids) if they have 6 to 8 wet nappies over a 24 hours.

When Your Baby Has a Fever

If your baby has a fever and is under 6 months old while being breastfed, consider providing additional breastfeeds. Your baby may show a preference for small feeds but more frequent feeding sessions. For formula-fed babies under 6 months, offer smaller amounts of formula more frequently. Unless directed by a doctor, avoid giving water.

For babies older than 6 months, maintain breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and offer water between feeds. During a fever, many children may not have much appetite, but it’s crucial to keep them hydrated. Ensure your child is receiving adequate fluids. When a child is dehydrated, they will feel worse in comparison.

If your baby is under three months old with a fever above 38°C, seek medical advice, even if there are no other symptoms.

Other Drink

You may want to give your baby fruit juice, flavoured milk, cordial and other flavoured drinks to encourage fluids but these have a high sugar content and should not be given to a child under the age of 12 months.

Older children should be discourage  from drinking caffein drinks including tea, coffee and energy drinks.