You probably wonder why babies cannot drink water yet – it’s because breast milk and/or baby formula are more important because of their nutrition for your little kid. As a general rule, babies shouldn’t drink water when they are still about 6 months old.
The simple explanation to this is because regular water can dilute your baby’s bloodstream, which makes it less likely to absorb nutrients that are coming from milk formula or breast milk. This means that your baby might get less healthy if they drink water instead of milk.
Moreover, there are also cases when water intoxication can also occur in babies if you give them too much water. This is why properly mixing your baby’s formula with water is important so that your baby gets the right amount of nutrients and also gets far away from water intoxication.
So if your baby is more than 6 months old, they can be fed with regular water, especially when they are already very thirsty and it’s hot outside.
My baby won’t drink water!
If your baby doesn’t want to drink H2O and they’re already old enough to do so, it’s just probably that your baby isn’t trained enough yet with the taste of water. It’s perfectly normal because all their 6 months, they’ve been used to drinking breast milk and/or milk formula.
It may also be that your baby is already too full from drinking the formula and/or breast milk and may not want to drink in that case. Or, they already feel cool that they don’t want to drink anything.
There are a couple of problems that could arise when your baby doesn’t drink water to hydrate themselves, such as dehydration. This can be characterized by getting dry lips and mouth, dark yellow urine, fewer diaper changes, getting headaches, feeling very thirsty, breathing faster, feeling cold on their feet, and less activity.
How to get your little one to drink water
For parents who have trouble with their little ones in giving them water, here are a couple of tips for you:
1. Try adding a bit of flavor. You can put a bit of orange or lemon to help them get used to a likable flavor. But don’t put too much to avoid sugars, especially if you choose sachet packs of instant juice. If you can, put real fruits but don’t put too much so they will still get used to the taste of water. After all, real fruits contain vitamin C, which can be vital for their immune system.
2. Have water ready when they are thirsty. When they play outdoors or perform physical activity, that can be an opportunity for them to drink water because they can get really thirsty and are in need of any kind of liquid.
Another plus point of why you should let your baby get into physical activities is that they can avoid the likelihood of obesity. If they drank fruit juices earlier, the physical workout and games can burn the sugar eventually, and they will reach for water easily.
3. Try to incorporate it during playtime. For instance, you can make drinking water a fun game with your little one to get them to drink. You don’t have to overdo it since kids still need nutrients from their formula.
4. Try freezing them into ice pops. If you have difficulty with them getting to drink water, on a hot summer day, you can try buying an ice pop maker that has a cool shape. For instance, your child wants a star-shaped or a fun shape of ice pop that they can lick, especially if they are toddlers already. Just make sure you ask your pediatrician as to what age is an ice pop safe for them.
5. Give them a fun sippy cup. A sippy cup can be a fun way to introduce drinking time with your little one. Buy one that has their favorite cartoon character or TV show so that they can get interested in drinking the water from it.
Moreover, the sippy cup should be safe to drink from – it should be BPA-free and should have a spout that is easy for your little one to use. In addition to that, the sippy cup should be easy to hold as well.
6. Use a fun straw. A reusable straw can help your child practice drinking water in a fun way. After all, most of us grew up with straws and if the straw also has a cool design that your kid may love, it can also act as an engaging toy to get them to drink water.
Just make sure that the fun straw is also BPA-free, much like the sippy cup. This is to ensure that the water that your baby or kid is drinking is safe and free from harsh chemicals.
7. Be a good example. When all else fails, you can set a good example by drinking the water and saying “look at mommy/daddy!”. By being a good example to your little one, they will eventually realize that it is safe for them to drink water and that drinking it can be a fun activity!
Approaching them in a fun manner can help take out the stress in your kid. After all, that’s one of the core values of parenting – getting your child to follow commands but you have to set an example first so they have a reason to follow you.
In the long run, babies can drink water, but only bit by bit, and only when they turn 6 months old. It is important that you become patient when you try to get your little one to drink water, since water can sometimes dilute the milk that gets into their bloodstream, resulting in less absorbed nutrients.
Nonetheless, drinking water can help keep their thirst at bay and can rehydrate their system. When your baby does learn to drink water, it can help them to regulate their water intake and they will eventually develop that healthy habit as they grow up.