Keeping your baby hydrated in the heat

Dr Sophie Niedermaier

It’s been quite a wait, but it looks like summer has finally arrived! With the glorious sunshine come picnics in the park, days out to the beach and other outdoor adventures…making it extra important to keep everyone in the family hydrated.


The average human body is made up of 60% water and this figure is even higher for babies under the age of one. We lose water faster in warmer temperatures, so it’s really easy to become dehydrated in the summer months.

And while it’s simple for us to reach out for a glass of water, unfortunately our little ones can’t speak up when they’re thirsty. Even as a parent, it isn’t always easy to tell when your baby is thirsty.

So, should babies drink water, and if so, how much?

UNDER 6 MONTHS OLD

If your baby is under 6 months, additional water is not necessary (especially with breastfeeding)! Breast milk and formula both provide enough water to keep your baby happy and healthy in the warmer climate. However, if you are breastfeeding, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water yourself because your baby may demand extra feeds for additional hydration. If you’re formula feeding in extremely warm temperatures, your baby may need additional water.This water should first be heated to 70 degrees to sterilise it, then let it cool before giving to your little one.

 

OVER 6 MONTHS OLD

From 6 months, your baby can drink regular unsterilised water. However, be aware that many bottled waters contain too much salt for babies. Check the label: the sodium (also written as Na) content should be below 200mg per litre, while the sulphate (SO or SO4) content should be below 250mg per litre. If your little one isn’t so keen on water, try unsweetened fruit and herbal teas or diluted fruit juice (1 part of juice added to 10 parts of water).

Avoid sweetened or sugary drinks, as these might cause tooth decay. Cow’s milk is not a suitable replacement for breast or formula milk until after 12 months. Rice milk and other alternative milks should be avoided in the first 5 years of life.

HOW?

It’s always a bit tricky teaching your baby to drink water, but a sippy cup is a great place to start! Once they master the art of this you can introduce them to an open cup.

DID YOU KNOW?

Our meals can be kept out of the fridge for up to 8 hours, making them fantastic for taking on holiday to ensure your baby is getting all the hydrating nutrients he or she needs. A cool bag will do the trick if you expect to be travelling for more than 8 hours. 

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