Giving your baby water - your guide

By Tommee Tippee

Many parents wonder “when can I give my baby water?” This guide from Tommee Tippee tells you everything you need to know.

Most babies will get all the hydration they need from breast milk for the first six months of their life and will not require any additional water. In fact, giving newborn babies water can be detrimental to baby’s health as it could interfere with their ability to absorb nutrients in breast milk or formula. This is why it is so important to follow the instructions on the formula packet with regards to how much water to mix with the formula.

There may be some instances in which your doctor will recommend giving your baby extra sips of water before they are six months old. For example, if baby suffers from bad constipation or gastroenteritis. While a few sips of water are unlikely to harm your young baby, you should only give baby water if your doctor has instructed it.

At six months old, your baby is ready for their first sips, but if you give them too much water they can get a bad tummy ache or not eat properly. When baby is one year old and eating solids you can let them drink as much water as they like.

Choosing a sippy cup

If you think your baby is ready to start drinking water then you should start to encourage them to drink from a cup. After all, using a cup is much better for baby’s teeth.

Teaching baby to drink from a cup is a gradual process, can be quite messy and will require a good deal of perseverance. But with a bit of luck you should have your baby off the bottle by their first birthday.

One of the first things you will need to do is choose a cup. There are a number of things to remember when choosing your baby’s first cup:

  • A cup with handles is easier for your baby to grasp
  • A see-through cup will help you see if your baby is drinking well
  • A hard spout is recommended by health professionals because it doesn’t encourage your baby to suck, but if your baby finds the transition from bottle to hard spout too much too fast, a soft spout would be an easier intermediary alternative to a hard spout cup
  • Health professionals advise mums to use a free-flowing cup (a cup without a valve) to help children learn how to sip instead of suck
  • If you are concerned about your child spilling their drink and making a mess, a non-spill cup may be the best solution for you, but remember it will require your baby to suck

Although your baby might be happy with their first cup, remember that there are different stages to weaning, each requiring a different cup. 

Stage 1 – As already mentioned, a cup with a free-flowing hard spout and no valve is recommended by health professionals. This free-flowing spout means that baby will not need to suck to get the drink, ensuring healthy development of his teeth and jaw. The alternative to a free-flowing spout is a valved, non-spill spout. A non-spill spout will prevent spillages and mess, but it will require your baby to suck.

Stage 2 – Once baby is happy drinking independently, it is time to try and move him on to drinking from an open top cup. Using a sipper lid will encourage your baby to learn to drink from the rim of a cup.

Stage 3 – Remove the sipper lid so that your baby can start to drink from an open cup

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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