When Can Babies Drink Water? A Comprehensive Guide for Parents

As parents, it's only natural to want the best for your little one. One common question that often arises is, "When can babies drink water?" The answer may seem straightforward, but there are several important considerations to keep in mind before offering water to your baby. In this article, we'll dive into the factors that influence when and how to introduce water to your baby's diet.

The question of when babies can start drinking water is a topic of curiosity for many new parents. While water is essential for life, the introduction of water to a baby's diet requires careful consideration.

The Importance of Proper Hydration for Babies

Proper hydration is crucial for babies, as their bodies are made up of a higher percentage of water compared to adults. However, it's important to note that for the first few months of life, babies receive the necessary hydration from breast milk or formula.

Exclusive Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding: The Initial Months

During the first six months, babies are typically exclusively breastfed or formula-fed. Breast milk and formula provide all the nutrients and hydration they need. Introducing water too early can fill up their tiny tummies, leading to less consumption of essential milk or formula.

Transitioning to Solids: When Water Comes into Play

Around the six-month mark, many babies begin to show signs of readiness for solid foods. This is also when water might be introduced, but not as a replacement for milk or formula. Water can be offered in a sippy cup or a small, age-appropriate bottle.

Signs of Readiness for Water Intake

Babies display signs that they are ready for water, such as increased curiosity about cups, improved head control, and the ability to sit up with support. Consulting your pediatrician before introducing water is always a good practice.

How Much Water is Appropriate for Babies?

When offering water to babies aged 6 to 12 months, it's recommended to start with a few sips during meals. Typically, 2 to 4 ounces of water spread throughout the day is sufficient to keep them hydrated without impacting their milk or formula intake.

Introducing Water: Step-by-Step Guidelines

  1. Choose the Right Time: Offer water when your baby is in a good mood and not too hungry.

  1. Use an Appropriate Cup: Opt for a spill-proof sippy cup with handles that's easy for little hands to grip.

  1. Make It Appealing: Infuse water with a subtle fruit flavor by adding a slice of cucumber or a few berries.

  1. Be Patient: Some babies may take time to adjust to the new taste and experience.

Best Practices for Introducing Water to Babies

  • Stay Attentive: Observe your baby's reactions to the water and look for any signs of allergies or sensitivities.

  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Remember that water should complement, not replace, breast milk or formula.

  • Stay Consistent: Once you start offering water, make it a consistent part of their routine.

Potential Risks and Precautions

Introducing water too early or in excessive amounts can lead to a decrease in milk or formula intake, potentially impacting your baby's nutrition. Additionally, tap water should be boiled and cooled before giving it to babies to avoid exposure to contaminants.

Common Misconceptions About Water Intake for Babies

Myth: Babies need water from birth.

Fact: Babies receive adequate hydration from breast milk or formula initially.

Myth: Water helps babies sleep better.

Fact: There's no evidence to suggest that water improves sleep in babies.

Myth: Babies can drink any water.

Fact: Babies should be given boiled and cooled tap water to prevent potential health risks.


In conclusion, the introduction of water to babies is an important milestone, but it should be approached with caution and awareness of your baby's developmental stage and needs. Proper hydration is vital, but it's equally important to ensure that water complements their diet rather than substitutes it.

FAQs About Giving Water to Babies

  1. πŸ’­ Can I give my one-month-old water on hot days?

No, babies under six months should not be given water. Breast milk or formula provides sufficient hydration.

  1. πŸ’­ How do I know if my baby is ready for water?

Look for signs like improved head control, sitting with support, and curiosity about cups.

  1. πŸ’­ Is it safe to use bottled water for my baby?

It's recommended to use boiled and cooled tap water to ensure safety and minimize contaminants.

  1. πŸ’­ Can I add sugar or flavoring to the water to make it more appealing?

It's best to offer plain water to avoid introducing unnecessary sugars or additives.

  1. πŸ’­ Should I worry if my baby refuses to drink water?

Not immediately. Continue offering water in small amounts, and consult your pediatrician if concerns persist.

Author: Laura
πŸ‘‹ Hey,  I'm a proud mother of two wonderful children. I've been working at OBF24 for 6 years as a formula expert and am part of the customer support team. I love being able to help customers find the perfect formula for their little ones and provide support with any questions they may have. Drop me a message β€Ί