When to start giving the baby water (and the right amount)

Pediatricians recommend that water be offered to babies from 6 months, which is the age when food starts to be introduced into the baby’s day-to-day, and breastfeeding is not the baby’s only source of food. 

However, babies fed exclusively with breast milk do not need to drink water, teas, or juices until they start complementary feeding because breast milk already has all the water the baby needs. In addition, babies under 6 months have a smaller stomach, so if they drink water, there may be a decrease in the desire to breastfeed, which can result in nutritional deficiencies, for example. Here’s how to choose the best milk for your baby.

The right amount of water according to baby’s weight

The correct amount of water the baby needs should be calculated taking into account the child’s weight. See the table below.

Baby age Amount of water needed per day
Pre-mature with less than 1 kg 150 ml for each kg of weight
Pre-mature with more than 1 kg 100 to 150 ml for each kg of weight
Babies up to 10 Kg 100 ml for each kg of weight
Babies between 11 and 20 kg 1 liter + 50 ml for each kg of weight
Babies over 20 kg 1.5 liter + 20 ml for each kg of weight

The water must be offered several times a day and one can take into account the amount of water that is present in the soup and the juice of pilfering, for example. However, the baby must also get used to drinking only water, which has no color or flavor. 

Amount of water according to age

Some pediatricians consider that the amount of water the baby needs should be calculated according to his age, like this:

Up to 6 months old

The baby that exclusively breastfeeds at the age of 6 months does not need water, because breast milk consists of 88% water and has everything the baby needs to quench thirst and appetite. In this way, whenever the mother breastfeeds, the baby is drinking water through the milk.

The average daily water requirement for healthy babies up to 6 months of age is about 700 ml, but this amount is completely obtained from breast milk if breastfeeding is exclusive. However, if the baby is fed only with powdered milk, it is necessary to give approximately 100 to 200 ml of water per day approximately.

From 7 to 12 months of age

From the age of 7 months, with the introduction of food, the baby’s need for water is about 800 ml of water per day, and 600 ml must be in the form of liquids such as milk, juice, or water.

From 1 to 3 years old

Children between 1 and 3 years old need to drink around 1.3 liters of water per day.

It is important to note that these recommendations are aimed at a healthy baby who does not experience dehydration from diarrhea or other health problems. So, if the baby is vomiting or has diarrhea it is important to offer even more water. In this case, the idea is to observe the number of fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea and then immediately offer the same amount of water or homemade serum. Learn how to prepare homemade serum .

In the summer, the amount of water has to be a little higher than what is recommended above, to compensate for the loss of water through sweat and to avoid dehydration. For this, even without the child asking, water, tea or natural juice should be offered to the child throughout the day, several times a day. Know the signs of dehydration in your child.

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