Water is essential for life. The human body contains 60% of water. Then why my baby won’t drink it? A lot of mothers are wondering about the same question.
In this post I will tell you my own story of a baby girl who refused to drink water for the first 10 months of her life and the ways of how I got her to drink water and actually enjoy it.
Before we jump into our story and how I encouraged my baby girl to drink water and actually love it, here is my number one, and most important tip:
Don’t give up! keep trying to offer water! Eventually it will work, I heard that so many times and I could not believe my baby girl will ever drink water but being stubborn pays off, I promise.
I introduced Yuval to water at 6 months old for the first time. She did not stand the taste of it from the very beginning. I would give her a bottle of water, she would take a sip and spill it out immediately while making a face at me… Even when she was super thirsty on hot summer days my baby was refusing to drink water.
When can babies drink water?
In general, your baby shouldn’t drink water until he’s about 6 months old. Until then, he gets all the hydration he needs from breast milk or formula, even in hot weather. Once your baby is 6 months old, it’s okay to give him sips of water when he’s thirsty.
The recommended age can vary from one country to another but the most common recommendation is to suggest water to your baby from 6 month old and on.
Why can’t babies have water during their first 6 months of life?
Babies nutrition during the first 6 months of their lives should be 100% milk, either breast milk or formula. They do not need any other nutrition as they get all they need from milk. Since Yuval was bottle fed with breast milk (you can check out A tired mama on her exclusively pumping journey post) I was not worried as she was getting enough liquid. Only when she got sick and had a vomiting and diarrhea virus and still refused water, I got panicked and decided that our emergency room visit was way too much for my weak mommy heart to handle.
Tap or boiled?
So I was asking myself when can I stop boiling tap water for my baby?
The common recommendation is once your baby is six months old, you can give him/her a separate drink of water straight from the tap. There’s no need to boil it first. Use water from the kitchen tap, where it will be fresh from the mains. If you get water from the bathroom tap, it may be coming from a storage tank, so it won’t be as good for drinking.
I felt the need to be ‘safer’ and kept boiling the drinking water up to 12 months and then continued giving her mineral or purified water.
Can they drink juice instead of water?
Yes, but it is better to wait as long as possible.
Water has so many benefits compared to juice. Water is calories free so you don’t have to worry about your baby gaining extra weight. On the other hand juices contains lots of calories.
When it comes to keeping dehydration at bay nothing can beat water as it hydrates your baby better than any fruit juice.
Fruit juices are known to flush out accumulated toxins which have been built up since a few days on the other hand, water is capable of cleansing your baby’s system by flushing out toxins that are there from months.
Drinking too much juice also may lead to tooth decay and can also make your baby refuse to drink water as he or she will get used to sweetened drinks.
When can babies have juice?
If you want to introduce your baby to juice, it’s best to wait until after a baby is 6 months old before offering juice.
If you give your baby juice, follow these tips:
- Serve only 100% fruit juice, not juice drinks or powdered drink mixes (which are sweetened).
- Limit the juice to no more than 2–4 fl. oz. (60–120 ml.) per day.
- Offer juice in a cup, not in a bottle.
- Serve juice only at meal time.
So what to do when your child won’t drink water? Here are 7 useful tips that will encourage your baby/toddler to drink water
- For us, using a training bottle and not a cup worked the best at the very beginning. Yuval did not know what to do with the cup at 6 months and the bottle was familiar. We used the MAM training bottle which worked really well for us. When your baby will get used to drinking water you can switch to a training cup, mine loves Munchkin trainer cup.
- Try different types of training bottles. Your baby might relate to other brands, nipple textures, holding handles etc.
- Always have the bottle within a hand’s reach, it is super important that your baby will get familiar with the bottle, let him/her play with it, spill water on the floor and understand how it works.
- Try adding little piece of fruit to the water. Banana or peach can be good options as it adds a slightly sweet flavor and makes it more ‘baby friendly’ at least in the beginning.
- Drink plenty of water in front of your baby while having family meals together. Being an example for your baby means a lot to him/her as you are the role-model, caring and familiar adult.
- Offer water with every meal and snack, whether or not your baby drinks it. Leave the bottle on the high chair tray in front of them.
- Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying. Babies rarely drink much to begin with and that’s fine, they’ll gradually drink more. Don’t be tempted to give up and offer sweetened juice instead.