When can you start giving water and juices to your baby and how much?
It is impossible to imagine life without water, right? However, after you give birth, your baby will thrive solely on your breast milk for the first 6 months. You won’t need to give him water or any other fluid to hydrate his body. So, are you wondering when to start giving water to your little one and exactly how much should you feed him? This article is going to clear all your doubts regarding the same and make your life a little easier as a new mother.
At what age should water be introduced into a baby’s diet?
For the first six months, a mother’s milk is the only food that a baby needs. Breast milk acts both as water and food for the baby. It has all the nutrition that an infant needs. After 6 months though, plain water and juice can be slowly introduced into his diet.
Can a 1-month-old baby drink water?
It cannot be stressed enough that water must be introduced into the baby’s diet only after 6 months. Introducing water earlier than this can put the child at risk due to insufficient nutrient intake. Giving water to an infant will make him feel full quickly and he won’t consume the necessary quantity of breast milk anymore. This means, your child will not get adequate nutrients provided by breast milk, and will become more prone to illnesses due to lowered immunity.
When can an infant have juice?
A little bit of juice can be introduced into the baby’s diet after 6 months as part of a meal, or during the day as a snack. Normally, fruit juices are introduced into the diet after six months, since the amount of vitamin C contained in the breast milk starts reducing with time. However, fruit juices contain high amounts of natural sugar that can cause dental issues in children. Therefore, one must not allow children to sip juice throughout the day, assuming that it is a healthy option. It is better to give children pureed fruits and vegetables instead of fruit juices. Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables also have more nutrients and fibre than juices.
Things to keep in mind while introducing juices
- Infants must be served only pure fruit juices containing 100% fruit content, and so, homemade fresh juices are the best option!
- The quantity of juice served initially should not exceed 1 teaspoon per day. This can be gradually increased as the child grows up and must not be more than 60-120 ml per day.
- Powdered juice mixes and other packaged fruit drinks must be avoided.
- Children should be given juice in cups or glasses instead of milk bottles.
How much water should you give to infants?
As mentioned before, infants up to 6 months of age do not require water, while older infants can begin to have sips of water here and there. Older infants between 9-12 months of age will require more water.
So, how much water should a 9-month-old baby drink? Well, several factors affect the water requirement of a child. The amount of water required by an infant depends on the age, gender, body weight, environment of the child, dietary habits, the amount of water he gets from food, and climatic conditions. Hence, the precise quantity of water intake is not same for all babies.
What mothers can do is look for thirst cues in their babies and keep the child hydrated accordingly. Insufficient water intake can lead to dehydration in babies. Therefore, one must watch out for signs of dehydration, like:
- Increased thirst
- General restlessness
- Drowsiness and lethargy
- Your child might seem to be dull
- Urine volume or frequency might decrease
- Decreased concentration and forgetfulness
- Constipation and other stomach-related issues
If you notice the above-mentioned signs in your baby, provide him enough fluids until the signs begin to fade. If dehydration symptoms are severe, consult a doctor immediately. Both less and overconsumption of water can be harmful to an infant.
So, remember that water and juice must be introduced gradually into an infant’s diet. Babies from 0 to 6 months of age do not require additional fluids, and mother’s milk is more than enough to provide all the important nutrients. Post 6 months, water can be slowly introduced into the diet in the form of small sips. As an infant grows, the water requirement will increase, and therefore the quantity of water given should also increase. The quantity of water needed will differ from one child to another. So, mothers must identify thirst cues and ensure ample hydration, or seek medical help if the child seems excessively dehydrated.