Paediatricians never tire of repeating that breast milk is the best food and drink for a baby. It gives your baby all the nutrients, vitamins, and elements he needs. In addition, breast milk is 87-88% water, which provides the baby’s need for fluids. Therefore, additional water for children during breastfeeding is not necessary until the introduction of complementary foods. Let’s find out at what age you can give a baby water to drink.
Breastfeeding and drinking
Breast milk is both food and drink for the child. Therefore, it is not necessary to give the newborn water or milk formula until at least four months if it is not necessary according to the doctor’s instructions. Interestingly, even when sick or in hot weather, experts recommend giving the breast more often and not giving water to the baby.
A baby at the age of four or six months can be offered water from a spoon or a special child’s drinker. A baby under six months of age should not be given more than 60 ml/day. The child can be given water when he begins to receive hard food. When introducing complementary foods, periodically offer liquid to the baby in the form of drinking water or compote.
But do not force your baby to drink if he does not want to. Some babies, if they have been fully breastfed, may not start drinking until one or two months after the first complementary food.
What about drinking water?
If the baby is on formula feeding, a little extra water should be given in parallel with the formula. In this case, the daily volume of water is 50-60 ml. Primers for such a baby already include three or four months. With increasing portions of food, the number of water increases.
Paediatricians note the importance of fluid in the development and growth of the child. It ensures proper metabolism of matter, but at the same time, breast milk contains the necessary amount of water. It is necessary to take into account the fact that regular tap water can harm a newborn, so it is necessary to use special bottled baby drink water.
So, an artificially-fed baby needs extra fluids in hot weather when he is more than usual thirsty. Offer your baby water often, but in small portions. When finishing feeding, the baby needs to remember that the water should not spoil his appetite, so do not offer him water before feeding.
When giving water to formula-fed babies under six months of age, the water should always be boiled first and allowed to cool to room temperature before serving. A formula-fed baby should be given water if he is sick or has a fever. Water, in this case, will help avoid dehydration.
Water quality is the main consideration when deciding when to give a baby water
The main consideration for feeding the child is the parents’ confidence in the high quality of the water offered to them. The best option is to use certified bottled water designed specifically for children. This water is also used to dilute the powdered milk formula. It is softer than ordinary tap water, and it takes into account the recommendations for the content of trace elements and salts.
Boiled tap water can be used to prepare baby food, but only if parents are confident that it is safe.
Juices and non-concentrated compotes can be offered to a baby not earlier than 6 months of age, regardless of breastfeeding.
The volume of juice that can be given to children during the day ranges from a few millilitres (at 8 months) to 100 ml (at 12 months). Sometimes the juice does not get rid of the child’s thirst, in these cases, he should still be offered water. Apple and pear juice is better at the beginning of this type of complementary food. A little later and gradually can be introduced juices from other fruits or vegetables.
You should never give a baby mineral water
Table and therapeutic mineral water are divided into carbonated and still. The latter can and should be drunk during the lactation period of the mother. Such a drink perfectly quenches thirst and nourishes the baby’s body when breastfeeding with the necessary nutrients and elements. The composition of this water is very useful – it has a positive effect on the development of the baby and the amount of breast milk produced. But to increase the shelf life of mineral water is saturated with gas.
It is extremely harmful to nursing mothers to drink soda because dissolved carbon dioxide accompanies the release of gastric juice, which increases acidity. This leads to disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, provoking the emergence of gastritis and ulcers. Water with gas in regular use worsens the condition of the skin. To remove the gas from the water, simply open the bottle and wait for a while. Soda is exhaled, after which it becomes a safer drink.
Under no circumstances should a baby be given mineral water, especially soda.
This is a contributed article aimed at providing advice to those seeking answers. If you are at all unsure about whether you should give your baby water, please consult your midwife, health visitor, doctor or paediatrician first before giving the baby water.