How much water should I give my baby?
After your baby turns one, a lot of things will change and liquid intake is one of them. This doesn’t mean that they didn’t need the same amount during the days leading up to their 1-year birthday, but as your child enters this age, it should be considered a mark in their development – and the increase of certain needs.
Since we can’t tell exactly how much liquid the child was ingesting while breastfeeding exclusively, the general rule of thumb for everyone is that you should offer at least 1,3 liters of purified water to your child per day.
In fact, water is your biggest ally and the only time it should not be given to a baby is when they are breastfeeding exclusively, or up until they turn 6 months old. Between 7 months and one year, water intake should still be controlled since you run the risk of overfilling the baby’s belly with water – it’s still best to leave more room for maternal milk. After this period is over, water is free game. Always carry some with you and have it ready in case your little one is thirsty – a sippy cup water bottle is a great alternative so your child can learn how to drink from a cup while keeping spills at a minimum. Until they turn three, your child needs to drink that exact amount of liquids. Check out the table below:
How much water and liquid does the baby need at each age?
Until 6 months: exclusively breastfeeding provides them with all the liquid they need
7 to 12 months: 800ml per day
1 to 3 years: 1,3 liters
3 to 8 years: 1,7 liters
These are standard measurements, but keep an eye on signs that indicate your child needs more liquids.
How can I tell if my baby needs more water?
The easiest way to do this is by checking the color of their pee. If the urine is a little darker than usual and it takes a while for the diaper to be soiled with urine, something isn’t right: your child needs more liquid. Feces are also a good measure for dehydration: the harder the stool, the less hydrated the child is. These are just the first few signs. A more serious case of dehydration caused by a fever, diarrhea, vomiting or excessive heat will result in dry mouth, cracked lips, sunken eyes, a drop in the baby’s soft spot (if they still have one), sleepiness, apathy, among other symptoms. In this case, you’ll need to see a doctor.
Can you substitute water for juice?
While some children are more reluctant to drinking water, it’s important to keep insisting they drink it. In the past, fruit juices used to be recommended during the weaning process, but recently have become more and more vilified. This is due to pediatricians recommending children eat the fruit whole, instead of ingesting a fructose “bomb” from all the sugar fruit juice contains – just think about how many oranges are needed, for example, to make one cup of orange juice. This way, there is a limit medical professionals establish as common sense: before 12 months, juice is not recommended, from one to two years, 100 to 150ml is ideal and three years and beyond children should only consume up to 240ml daily.
Boxed juices aren’t recommended due to the amount of sugar they contain, not to mention the added chemicals. Children who ingest sugary drinks from an early age are more prone to developing diabetes and obesity later in life. Sodas are also included in this list of drinks to avoid. But, we all know that at children’s birthday parties they are always present… In this case, make an exception.
Teas of any kind aren’t even indicated when it comes to hydration. Of course some chamomile, mint or fennel tea won’t harm your child, but they also don’t contain enough nutritional properties to justify giving it to them.
What about coconut water and milk?
Allowed after your child turns one, coconut water should not be given instead of water as it still contains sugar. But, it is a good substitute for juices, in the recommended quantities.
Cow’s milk is also allowed by pediatricians after the baby turns one, due to the increased risk of developing allergies. Talk to your doctor about how much should the daily intake be. Despite being a great source of calcium, too much cow’s milk can be harmful to the child and could even make them anemic.