Water is the safest and healthiest drink for older children and adults, but not for infants below 6 months of age. Breastmilk or formula provides your baby with all the hydration and nutrients. Even on a hot day, your baby wouldn't need water, if she had been breastfed sufficiently. In fact, breast milk is 88% water.
Water Is Risky
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, water, glucose water, formula and other fluids should not be given to breastfeeding infants unless suggested by a physician.
Water will fill them up and doesn't contain any vital nutrients.
Doctors warn that too much water can quickly drain a baby's tiny kidneys out, leading to electrolyte imbalance.
Moreover, a large amount of water can cause water intoxication in babies. Every time the baby pees, he or she loses not only water but also sodium and other electrolytes. The sodium levels in their blood can drop and cause irritability, brain swelling, and seizures.
The risk of water intoxication increases if the baby suffers from diarrhoea. In such cases, fluid losses to be replaced with breast milk, formula or rehydration solution. Never give plain water for rehydration.
Water For Preparing Babies Formula
Boiled water is best to prepare formula feeds because formulas are not sterile. The Centers for Disease Control recommends using hot water to make the formula to avoid the risk of infection by a rare but deadly bacteria called Cronobacter, that has been found in powdered formula. Use water boiled at a temperature of at least 70°C to make the feed. Remember to let it cool before feeding your baby.
Bottled Water For Babies
Bottled water is not recommended to make formula feeds for your baby because it's not sterile and may contain too much sodium and sulphate.
When can I safely start water?
It's safe to introduce water roughly around 6 months of age.
Give small sips of water, but don't overdo it, because it makes them too full to eat.
When Can I Start Juice?
Introduce your baby to juice when he/she starts eating solids (6 months). Make sure it's only 100% fruit juice without any added sugar to prevent tooth decay. It is ideal to give 120 ml of juice in a day.