Giving Water to a 4 Month Old - How Much Is Ok?

Updated on August 26, 2008
L.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
10 answers

So here is the deal - I've only been giving my 4 month old the breast, even though my mother insists that i should be giving her water. She managed to give her some when she was in town a month ago but I haven't given her any since. At the last dr check up I asked the dr if it was ok to give her water and he said "she doesn't need any", but at same time seems like it will be ok. The thing is she sweats a lot and its hot now, and I'm thinking about giving her some, especially when she wakes up in the middle of the night (I no longer feed her during the night).

Anyone out there with an infant giving them water? If so, how much? A couple of ounces? Less? And should I boil the water first and then cool it down or give her bottled water like Arrowhead or whatever?

*** Please, I only want to hear from moms who give water to their babies, I'm well aware of what the books/internet/doctors/research etc, ect, say about this topic and I'm not asking about that I'm asking for moms to share their own experience. Thank you!!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Last time my MIL visited, she asked me five times..."Do you give him water?" The last time I said no, she snapped back.."Why not?"

I'm glad I'm not the only one experiencing this. My son is 10 weeks old and I didn't think it was necessary.

Thanks for posting this topic L., I logged on here to ask it myself, guess I don't need to.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Please listen to your doctor. Your daughter is getting plenty of water from the breast and baby food if you've introduced it yet. If you are worried, you could always us your intake of water. I copied this from the Cinncinatti Children's Hospital Website.

CINCINNATI -- Water may be essential for children, adolescents and adults to keep hydrated in the summer heat, but for infants, too much water can be life-threatening.

"Breast milk or formula is the only source of nutrition that infants need," says Michael Farrell, M.D., a gastroenterologist and chief of staff at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati. "During the first months of life, too much water can upset the electrolyte balance, setting off possible brain swelling and seizures from water intoxication."

In addition, too much water can fill infants' stomachs so they don't get the nutrients they need to grow. This is particularly common in families that cannot afford formula or may dilute it to make it last longer.

Dr. Farrell suggests avoiding water entirely until a child is about 6 months old. If an infant has diarrhea and vomiting, he suggests oral rehydration fluids, such as Pedialyte" or Infalyte".


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hi L.,
I started giving my daughter 4 oz or less of water in a sippy cup after she began eating solids (as her pediatrician recommended). I breastfeed her, so she didn't need any water until then. First, I gave her tap water because ours has fluoride in it, then when we started her on Polyvitamins w/ fluoride at 6 months, she got bottled or filtered water. I still don't give her more than 4 oz/day because breastmilk or formula should be her main source of hydration for now (she's 8 1/2 months), too much water may reduce her desire to nurse.
Congratulations on your baby girl!



answers from San Diego on

Check with your ped - I think it's a little early for plain water....



answers from San Diego on

Hi L., Our Pedi advised us to no more than an ounce a day - but he was formula fed and getting water that way as well. So in your case, it's possible a couple of ounces a day would be fine.

There's something old school about giving babies the water. My MIL was hell bent on giving my son water too!




answers from Las Vegas on

Hi L....I dont think at 4 months its necessary unless you live in a very hot climate (like I do in LV). I wouldnt force the water at this point but I would start with an ounce and see how she does on it if you are concerned. If it makes her stools too watery you will need to wait awhile. My doctor told me to introduce water at 6 months which I did and I give it to them in a sippy cup. They can have as much as they want all day long...I dont limit them. At 4 months it is probably too hard for her to grab a bottle and say oh I'm thirsty and I will drink this. I would just offer it and see if she accepts...but only in small don't want it to take the place of milk which is nutritious.



answers from San Diego on

Hi L.,
My baby boy just turned 6 mos last week & I introduced water to him about a week before that. I used the filtered water from our fridge and only put 2 oz in a bottle for him. I used it when we went on a walk to the park on a warm day. I had already breastfed him before we went, so I took just in case he got thirsty at the park. He drank the whole thing just fine with no problem. Hope this helps! Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.,
My mother in law has been asking about giving my daughter a bottle of water since the day she was born, but I think it has more to do with my MIL not liking milk and resenting the breastfeeding. Even now she will give my daughter water before she will give her breastmilk. My pediatrician said the same thing as yours. I didn't give my nursing daughter water until she was 6 months old and had started solids. I used tap water because I read that they need the flouride once they have teeth. If your daughter doesn't have teeth and you have a safe municipal water supply, I'd say give her tap water. Most bottled water comes from municipal taps.

One thing my husband and I have noticed is that my daughter almost always polishes off a bottle of breast milk, but she almost never finishes a bottle of water. I'd recommend you start with only an ounce or so if you are determined to give it to her so that she doesn't drink too much water instead of the breast milk she needs.

My sitter started making a sippy cup with water available at all times to my daughter at around 8-9 months of age.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have two daughters, 11 months and three years old.

When my older one was a few weeks old I asked her doctor about her sweaty head. He said it's an indication of normal development of the sweat glands that they start sweating around 6 weeks old.

When I persisted in questioning him about giving her water (my mother-in-law insisted that she never heard of not giving a baby water) he said that breastfeeding is a liquid diet and why not give her something with nutritional value.

With my second daughter I asked again about giving her water. He advised that if I wanted to give her water I might consider mixing in formula. He gave me a giant can of powdered organic similac and said that as long as I have enough breastmilk I should use that first.



answers from Los Angeles on

I gave my daughter about 3-4 ounces and it was bottled water. I never gave it at night only during the day after I had breast feed her. Hope this helps.