As a parent, I am always googling things to find answers to questions about my baby. You've been there too? Of course you have! Something I've had to ask google (and my pediatrician) about is when can you give your baby water or juice? Seems like a silly question, but don't worry it's not--it's something all parents should know because giving your baby the right or wrong kind of liquids can affect their health and nutrition, and the answer depends on their age and their specific needs. So let's find out together!
When Can My Baby Start Drinking Water?
- 6 months to 1 year old
It is recommended to start giving your infant a few sips of water when they begin eating solid foods. Start by introducing water from a learners cup, this will not only introduce them to a new taste, but it will also be something new and fun for them to learn.
Any water your baby drinks at this age is meant to get them used to its taste and introduce the skills needed for cup drinking, not for hydrating them completely. So don't worry if your baby doesn’t like water at first. It is not intended to replace breastmilk or formula, which still provides all the water your baby needs. Once your baby is over the age of 1 then the game changes a little, but always consult with your child's pediatrician on what is recommended after age 1 and if water or milk should be their primary source.
According to many if not all pediatricians, babies should not be given water before 6 months of age. If you give your child too much water or water at too early of an age then it can result in weight loss, electrolyte imbalances, decreased milk supply, nutrient deficiencies, and in extreme cases lead to seizures.
Shouldn't my baby be drinking water to stay hydrated?
The answer is NO. This is FALSE. This something I've heard from many moms, even from my own mom. We instantly think that because we need water to stay hydrated that our babies will need it as well. It's okay to be concerned about their hydration, but be assured that babies actually get all the hydration they need from breastmilk or formula for the first year of their lives. Even on the hottest of days, breastmilk or formula still provides sufficient water for your newborn/infant. Remember to never water down formula or breastmilk--it can be very dangerous for your child and also lead to water intoxication.
How much water should baby drink once they are old enough?
As mentioned before, once your child hits the appropriate age of 6 months to 1 year, slowly introduce small sips of water to get them familiar with it and how to drink it. You can consult this chart from SolidStart.com as a guide, but please reconfirm the amount with your child's pediatrician.
When Can My Baby Drink Juice?
- Not until 1 years old
Not only does juice fill up your infant’s tiny tummy, leaving less room for milk and nutritious food, but the high amount of sugar in juice can cause stomach cramping, tooth decay, and diarrhea in young babies. Juice adds extra calories without giving a balanced nutrition that formula or breastmilk gives and that your child needs.
Once your child has passed the appropriate age to give them juice, take these tips when giving it.
- Limit the juice to no more than 2–4 fl. oz. (60–120 ml.) per day.
- Water down juice or use a sugar-free juice
- Never give powdered juice mix, only give 100% fruit juice
- Never give juice to a child who has diarrhea or as a treatment for dehydration.
- Only give juice during meal time
Should I give my baby juice to give them vitamin C and introduce flavor variety to their diet?
The answer is NO. This is FALSE. American Academy of Pediatrics has said that, "juice has no essential role in healthy balanced diets in children and babies. Infants currently drinking juice are more likely to want to drink soda and other sugary drinks when they're older. Juice and other sugary drinks can cause weight gain, diarrhea, and tooth decay." All the nutrients that your infant could ever need in their first year of life come from breastmilk or formula; and even after a year, it is healthier to give your toddlers and older kids real fruit and water instead of juice.
Can juice help my baby in any way?
For babies under 1 year old, the answer is no. For children older than 1, some kinds of fruit juice can be helpful to ease constipation. Some pediatricians may recommend any juice that starts with a "P", (prune, pear) to help ease their stomach or help with bowel movements. Be sure to ask your child's doctor before trying this in case there are other approaches that could be better.
We hope this post has helped you learn about when is the correct time to introduce water or juice to your child. The most important thing to know is that there a definitely one true form of nutrition, hydration, and safe liquid to give your infant and that is with mommy's milk or formula. We promise that this will have your baby flourishing in a strong body and growing healthy and happy!