If your baby is less than 6 months old , he should only drink breast milk or formula . From 6 months, you can give your baby small amounts of water, if needed, in addition to breast milk or formula.
Why is the water not suitable for babies under 6 months?
At this age, breast milk or formula is both food and drink for your baby. That's all he needs, even in very hot weather . Giving your baby water may mean he will drink less breast milk or formula. As a result, he may not be getting enough milk or formula to develop properly. Giving your baby lots of water or overly diluted formula for a short time can also make him very sick .
When to give water to an infant?
If your baby is around 6 months old , you can offer him small amounts of boiled and cooled tap water , but you should not replace his breast milk or formula. Breast milk or infant formula should remain their primary drink until 12 months of age.
After 12 months, their main drink should be water and cow's milk or breast milk. You can offer them water and milk in a cup. There is no need to boil tap water once your baby is 12 months old.
If your baby has just started solid foods , start by offering a few sips of water from a cup when eating. This will teach him to drink from a cup and help him avoid constipation from increased poo. The goal is to get them used to drinking from a cup, as this will be their main way of drinking from 12 months.
And in hot weather can we give the baby water to drink?
In hot weather, it's important to offer your young baby more frequent breast or bottle feedings. Babies under 6 months generally do not need water unless recommended by a doctor.
Your baby may want to drink more than usual, but for shorter periods. If you are breastfeeding, you should also make sure you are drinking enough water.
To make breastfeeding more comfortable for you and your baby in hot weather:
- Place a towel, sheet or pillowcase between you and your baby
- Lying down to breastfeed to reduce skin contact
For comfortable breastfeeding, I recommend our adjustable nursing pillow, which you can discover by clicking here
Your baby is adequately hydrated (getting enough fluids) if he has 6-8 wet diapers in a 24 hour period.
What if my baby has a fever?
If your baby has a fever, is less than 6 months old and is breastfed, you may need to offer additional breastfeeding. If he is less than 6 months old and is bottle-fed, you can offer him smaller amounts of formula, but more frequently. Do not offer him water unless advised by a doctor.
If your baby is over 6 months old, continue to breastfeed or bottle feed him. You can offer water between feedings. The most important thing to check is whether your child is getting enough fluids .
And the other drinks?
Fruit juices, soft drinks and sugary drinks are not suitable for babies under 12 months.
Caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee and sports drinks - and, of course, alcohol - are not suitable for children of any age.
Giving your baby small amounts of water in addition to breast milk or infant formula before six months is okay, but only if your doctor advises. The best way to keep your baby healthy and hydrated is to continue breastfeeding or giving him breast milk or formula until he's at least six months old.
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