Why You Shouldn't Give Your Kids Water Before 6 Months

  • Parents Only

By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist

Although we seem to hear so much about the importance of drinking water and that we’re probably not drinking as much as we need- babies are different. According to scientists, we shouldn’t be giving water to our babies until they are at least 6 months old, and here’s why.

Milk is just so darn good: Breast milk has just about everything in it that babies need- and that goes for those hot days too. Formula is really hydrating too- but don’t dilute the mixture or try to stretch it out with adding extra water. Always follow the instructions.

Water Intoxication: Babies younger than 6 months could get what is called ‘water intoxication’ which can be lethal. Their kidneys aren’t mature, so even small sips of water can upset sodium levels in their little bodies, leading to the swelling of bodily tissues. If your baby has water intoxication, it will be very hard to tell because the symptoms of this condition are what babies are already so good at displaying- crankiness and sleepiness!


Other Problems: Babies younger than 6 months who drink water can have their body’s ability to absorb nutrients from breast milk and formula interfered with. Also, if they feel full from water, they won’t get round to feeding of your good, nutrient rich stuff!

Dehydrated? Babies that have been sick with gastro for example, might be dehyrdated, but this is still no reason to give them water. Your doctor will advise a high-electrolyte appropriate substitute.

Top Tip: Once your baby is 6 months, you can begin to give them sips of water. Once they are enjoying solids and are off breast milk at about 1 year old- then let the flood gates open! They should really aim to drink around a litre a day.

child water

NOTE: This medical advice has been sourced from Dr. Greene, author and paediatrician; as well as Dr. Daniels, paediatrician and expert for BabyCenter. 

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