Most new mothers often wonder when to start giving their babies water and that too how much is enough.

Need for Water

To start off, babies don’t need any water from birth till they are around six months old.All their needs for water are satisfied through either breast or formula milk. Breast milk, in fact, is 88% water and the colostrums that come out before the breast milk is enough to keep the new born hydrated.

Babies, less than two months old, don’t need any water or water supplements. Water supplements are often associated with increased levels of bilirubin in jaundiced newborns. Babies of this age don’t need water even during the hot summer months.

When to Give Water

Giving water to babies less than six months old interferes with their body’s ability to absorb the nutrients that they get from the milk. Giving them water, in the form of glucose-water, or even juice, can introduce them to contaminants and various allergens, which their stomachs may not be able to tolerate.

It is only when the child turns six months old that you should begin giving them little sips of water. This is a good age to start, so that by the time they are a year old, they are used to the tastelessness of this liquid.

How Much Water Should be Given

Generally kids of this age do not need more than five to 10 teaspoons of water in a day. You could increase that to around 15 to 20 teaspoons in hot weather or if they are very constipated.

Water for Forumla-fed babies

Sometimes, though, formula fed babies might need a little water during fever. However, do consult your pediatrician before doing so. Exclusively breast fed babies don’t need even this.

Adverse Effect of Too Much Water

Too much water can cause water intoxication, a condition where the excessive water in the body dilutes the concentration of sodium, thereby upsetting the electrolyte balance. This makes the tissues swell up. In extreme cases, it can even cause seizures and coma. It’s best to give them water from a sipping cup, rather than from a bottle to drink from. Too much of bottles can affect their teeth.

Never add extra water to their formula. It will unnecessarily bloat and fill up their small stomachs, without fulfilling their nutritional needs. This might even result in weight loss.