Q: When can my baby start drinking water?
A: It's best not to give your baby water before 6 months. At this newborn stage, breast milk or formula is all a baby needs to stay healthy. You don't want to fill up your baby on water, which may decrease her appetite and leave her malnourished. Pediatricians are also cautious about water because it's very easy to overload your baby. Giving a baby too much water too fast can cause her kidneys to flush out sodium and electrolytes, leaving her salt-depleted. In serious cases, this can trigger seizures. Even on a hot day, most babies don't need water -- breast milk or formula is enough to keep them hydrated. However, if your baby is constipated, your pediatrician may suggest giving her 2 ounces of water a day to get her back on track. After your child turns 1, she can start sipping water more regularly.
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.