How much water should a baby or toddler drink each day?

Your essential guide

January 20 2019

How much water should a baby drink?

As adults it is drilled into us to get our two litres of water a day, but when it comes to quenching our babies thirst, it’s hard to know much they need every day. Here's your guide.

According to the Better Health Channel, babies aged 7–12 months need to consume 0.9L a day of liquids.

This can be made up from breastmilk, formula and other foods and drinks (preferably water). About 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from solid foods, even those that look dry. Don’t be too concerned if your child isn’t reaching for the water bottle you’ll find that a lot of the juicy fruits and vegetables they are eating contain water.

However, drinking plain water is one of the healthiest habits you can set up with your child that can stay with them for life. Try to encourage it from a young age.

When can babies start drinking water?

Up until 6 months of age your baby will get all the water he needs from breastmilk or formula. It is not necessary, and in fact, can be very dangerous to give your baby water before 6 months of age.

At around 6 months of age, you can offer small amounts of cooled boiled tap water to bub but this should not be replacing his breastmilk or formula feeds. These should still be his main drink up to 12 months of age.

If you start your baby on solids at 6 months it’s also a good time start with a few sips of water from a cup with food. Not only does this set up healthy habits and gets him used to a cup, it can also help prevent constipation. Between 9 and 12 months, your baby can - and should - drink more but only a few sips a day.

From 1 year old, it’s okay to let your baby drink water freely. Try to offer a drink every hour that he’s awake, between meals, and let him drink from a cup to encourage independence.

What are the benefits of drinking water?

Up until 12 months, babies will get everything they need from breastmilk or formula, so there are no actual health benefits to drinking water but it’s important to get bub accustomed to the taste of water.

If your baby has a cold he can get dehydrated if he isn’t drinking enough or if he’s losing fluids through vomiting or diarrhoea. It is important to give bub more water in this instance.

How to tell if your child isn't drinking enough water?

Check your 1-year-old's nappies and make sure he's urinating at least every four to six hours. If you can, check the colour of your baby’s urine, if it appears concentrated or yellow in colour, this could be a sign he isn’t getting enough fluids.

Seek medical help if he is showing signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, drowsiness or irritability.

How much should your baby drink per day?

• Babies up to 6 months: 0.7 litres (from breastmilk or formula)
• Babies aged 7-12 months: 0.9 litres (from breastmilk, formula and additional water and food)
• Children aged 1 to 3 years: Around 1 litre or 5 cups of water a day (from water, milk, food and juice).

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