Babies Drinking Water

Archived Q&A and Reviews


When does baby start drinking water?

May 2007

Hi. I wanted to know when our baby should start drinking water. She is 8 1/2 months old and she eats 85% breastmilk and 15% oatmeal/babyfood fruit. Does she not drink water until the breastfeeding stops? Thank you so much. ET

Just be sure you give water whenever she's sweating or eating dry foods. More often won't hurt, but at least do it then so she's not thirsty. 3 under 4

I read to start giving a little water when solid foods are first introduced. I did, but didn't push it very strongly (I don't think our daughter understood how the sippy cup worked at first). She got very constipated, until she started drinking some water with her solid food meals. So, yes, start giving some water now. Especially during this hot weather! Sarah

The American Academy of Pediatrics actually states that ''until your baby starts eating solid foods, he'll get all the water he needs from breastmilk or formula.'' anon

All of my kids drank water from a bottle right out of the hospital. I'm not sure why your child is the age it is & hasn't. Were you advised against it? I've never heard of such advice. I have three children, the eldest almost 16 & they all started drinking water from a bottle after being born then graduated to sippy cups. Michelle

Now. Mommy of 3

Kelly Mom has good advice about this: Andi

Water doesn't replace breastmilk, of course. It's just a normal part of the human diet which can and should be introduced at about the same time solid foods are introduced. Offer your baby a sippy cup or trainer cup of water with her solid meals and let her experiment with it. Of course, while she's still nursing a lot and her ''solid'' foods are still pretty wet, she doesn't need a lot of extra fluids, so don't push it if she doesn't seem to actually swallow much of it -- but this is a good time for her to begin learning to use a cup and to get used to drinking water. She should probably drink more by the time she's eating table foods as a more significant part of her diet, typically between 9 and 18 months. (Incidentally, it's a good idea to start offering her finger/table foods. If she likes eating and is good at swallowing the oatmeal and pureed fruit, it's time to move on to cereal bits, larger chunks of soft fruit/veg, ground meats.) Holly

9 Month old won't drink water

March 2007

My 9 month old son has recently started sleeping through the night (!!!) and has been less interested in nursing during the day. This is fine with me, although a bit sad, but I'm getting a little concerned about his fluid intake. He's a VERY healthy eater but he won't drink water from any source. We've tried a variety of sippy cups (soft spout, hard spout, etc.) and regular cups but he just won't swallow the water, it just dribbles down his little chin. He also doesn't take a bottle. I want to avoid giving him juice or anything sweet but I'm out of ideas. He's had less wet diapers lately too, which is making me a little nervous. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

I get not wanting to go the juice route, but we put a squeeze of white grape juice (less sugar than other juices)in our little guy's cup, maybe 1 TBSP, and the rest water. Maybe that would work? Anon.

Best water to make up infant formula?

Jan 2007

We were using filtered tap water to make up infant formula for our twins until I found out about a recent American Dental Association report (November 06) saying not to use flouridated (tap or other) water. Since then, I've been trying to do research on the best bottled water to make up formula, but it is surprisingly hard to find this out! Is it better to use a good mineral water (like Fiji or Evian)? How do you tell which is the safest for babies in terms of pesticide content and mineral content? Or is it better to use a distilled or reverse-osmosis water? Again, which one would be safest for babies in terms of toxic contents???

At this point, we may go back to ready-to-feed, but eventually I'd like to move to an organic formula, and those are only powdered, as far as I know.

If you've done the research, I'd love to hear your reply!

Thanks, Abigail

You can hook up a reverse osmosis water filter to your sink that way you will not have floride or any of the numerous other possible toxins in you water. It is expensive to start but cheaper than bottled water in the long run. Otherwise use Aquafina which a friend of mine had analyzed and found it was the purist. juliet

Bottled water is completely unregulated. Bottlers don't have to check for anything, so they don't know what is in their products. They may test for the presence of some things for marketing purposes, but they're not going to look for things that might make them look bad. In contrast, the quality of tapwater is closely monitored. I always used filtered tapwater for mixing formula. Did you read the actual ADA report itself or did you read somebody's interpretation of the ADA report?

I am sure many people will disagree but we live in Marin county and the HOSPITAL recommended i use tap water. they said it was perfectly fine and we used it from day one. He is 16 months now and thriving. Over time i used the tap water in other places and never had problems (i did make sure there was a water distrcit).Actually when my mom insisted on giving him evian he got sick and the pediatrician thought it was because there were too many minerals in it. magaliusa

I am not sure where you saw that recommendation but its not true. If your baby is formula fed, they are getting no flouride from you. Flouride is necessary to make sure you child has healthy teeth. Teeth start forming at birth and adult teeth by 5 or 6 months so this is a crucial time. I know there is ''controversy'' about flouride, but it is rediculous. flouride in appropriate amounts (~1 ppm) is a fantastic benefit for kids!

My father is a dentist and I was given flouride in drops as a young baby and child before it was in the water. I have the best teeth of anyone I know and NO cavities ever! And it has improved dental heatlth for so many since its been in the tap.

We used a filter on our tap until it broke. We then decided to buy ''Spring water''. Later we found out that the Arrowhead water we were using had up to 2.4 ppm! If you use bottled water CALL the company to ask about the fouride content. Springs have varying amounts and even filtered waters or other processed waters can have it added later.

We ended up with a britta. It removed all of the heavy metals but not the flouride which is in our tap at 1 ppm.

Good luck Leslie

Hi there, We used distilled water to mix up bottles when needed, with both of our babies. I don't remember now where I saw that recommendation though. I think it was in the ''baby guide'' we got from our pediatrician or in one of the baby books I read. Beth

Sterilize drinking water for baby?

Jan 2006

Is it really necessary to sterilize water (from the tap) that baby will drink? The ''Super Baby Food'' book says ''the water you give to your very young baby must be boiled to kill all bacteria'' (p. 64, 2nd edition). Rose

It's not necessary to sterilize the water unless your babies are particularly fragile (immunocompromised or something). I gave both of my children tap water as soon as they started drinking water. However, I didn't give them any water until they started eating food (around 5 months)--milk has enough water in it already. Tap water is fine

Our pediatrician said an emphatic No to this. She feels that tap water is the best for a baby in a place like this where we have access to clean safe water. My gut says this is true, I think Americans get sick abroad because we aren't exposed to much here, and out bodies are stronger than we give them credit for. Editorially, I love the Super Baby Food porridge and information about making your own babyfood, but she is an absolute nut on some things, boiling water and formatting being two of them. Another Mom

I'm on my second healthy kid and I've never sterilized drinking water (or water for formula) for my babies. I didn't even sterilize bottles after the first week or so. We do use a water filter pitcher at home, but it's not even nearly exclusive - they get tap water, bottled water, restaurant water, etc. all the time. Unless you feel you have a specific issue with your water or pipes, I wouldn't worry about it. laid back mama

I had the same question after reading the Super Baby Food book, and I called the nurses at our pediatricians' office (East Bay Pediatrics) to ask. Their advice: no need to sterilize. Rebecca

No, my pediatrician has always said that tap water is fine. But very young babies do not need any water to drink, unless it is very very hot and they need it for hydration. Otherwise, they should be getting only breastmilk or formula, and maybe a little juice, very watered down. We used warm tap water to mix the formula and the baby cereals, though. Mom of 3 healthy kids

VERY young babies should not be given water, unless they are formula fed, in which case it is a good idea to sterilize the water that is used to mix powdered formula. But by the time a baby is ready for drinking plain water (around 6 months, same as for introducing solid foods), the water doesn't need to be sterilized. Most babies that age are eating sand and paper, after all, so what's a little tap water?! Of course, if you suspect your water is contaminated with lead, boiling won't help; other problematic contaminants aren't really an issue with EBMUD tapwater but might be a concern at, say, a vacation house on well water. Drinks it Straight from the Tap