When Can Babies Drink Water?

Water is a healthy drink for kids and adults—but how about infants? When can babies drink water? Here's what experts recommend.

When it comes to drinking water for kids and adults, the recommendation could be even more than eight glasses a day. It might surprise you to learn that babies don’t actually need any water during the day, even when it’s hot outside.

When Can Babies Drink Water?

Most babies will get adequate hydration from breast milk or formula for their first six months and even up to a year. Experts recommend introducing water alongside solid foods at around six months of age. (Watch for these signs your baby is ready to start solid foods.)

Even at six months, babies should drink water in small quantities. Think sips, not cups! They may not drink much water at first, since they’ll need to adjust to the new taste. It’s a good idea to stick to water as opposed to introducing juice, though, which will get kids used to sugary flavors. At around one year, tots can drink a little more water.

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Why Is Water Not Good for Infants?

Drinking water can throw off an infant’s feeding schedule. A drink of water fills up a baby’s stomach, resulting in decreased consumption of milk or formula, their main source of nutrients.

If you’re worried that your baby is dehydrated—symptoms may include excessive sleepiness, fewer bowel movements than usual or wrinkled skin—then you should talk to your doctor.

Can Newborns Drink Water for Hiccups?

Newborns get hiccups, maybe even frequently—it’s an especially common occurrence when feeding. They might drive you crazy, but your baby probably doesn’t mind. Regardless, don’t give water to make hiccups go away. Infants can’t control their breathing and swallowing the way adults can, which makes that remedy useless. Instead, if hiccups continue for over 10 minutes, try to keep feeding, offer a pacifier or gently pat his back (similar to burping).

Most likely, the hiccups are normal. They may be a result of baby getting too much air while feeding, which could mean your bottle has too large a hole, or your baby is overly hungry and eating quickly. As always, if you’re concerned, check with your baby’s pediatrician.

Next: Explore our painless primer on making baby food from scratch.

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Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.