The Health Risks of Giving Water to Infants Before Six Months
Once upon a time, in a land filled with pediatricians, dietitians, and well-meaning but often confused parents, there echoed a question that has plagued many a dinner conversation and Google search: "When can infants drink water?"

No, dear reader, this isn’t a cautionary tale filled with dragons and knights, but one might argue it’s just as important, if not more so, because it’s about the well-being of our little ones.

Let's embark on this journey into the world of infant nutrition, exploring the less-traveled road of water consumption for our youngest family members. Don't worry - this journey won't require a map, compass, or any survival skills, unless, of course, you count trying to decipher the vast amount of conflicting information out there a survival skill (and, to be honest, sometimes it feels like it should be).

Buckle up, friends. This is not your regular infant nutrition lecture. Let’s add a pinch of humor and a spoonful of charisma, and take this question head-on: when can infants drink water?

First things first, a drop of water to an infant younger than six months isn't akin to feeding them poison, despite what those overzealous chat room warriors might have you believe. But, just like a “too-good-to-be-true” bargain on Black Friday, there is more than meets the eye.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the answer to our million-dollar question, "When can infants drink water?", is generally at six months of age, coinciding with the introduction of complementary foods (1). Before six months, an infant's primary source of nutrition and hydration should ideally be breast milk or formula, barring any specific medical recommendations from the pediatrician.

Watering down the milk, you say. Sounds like a fine idea, right? Like diluting a strong coffee. But hold on to your organic baby food jars, folks, because in the realm of infant nutrition, less is not more.

Early introduction of water could potentially lead to a condition called water intoxication, or hyponatremia. It’s not the next fancy latte at your local coffee shop, but a potentially serious condition where the balance of electrolytes in your baby's body gets thrown off by excessive water intake, resulting in symptoms such as irritability, drowsiness, and in severe cases, seizures (2). Scary stuff, indeed.

But our journey isn't all doom and gloom. The good news is that it's entirely preventable. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics highlights the importance of exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months and cautiously introducing water thereafter (3).

As we take the last bend in our road, we come to our final destination - understanding why our question "When can infants drink water?" is so crucial.

It's simple, really. We want the best for our children, ensuring their health and development are optimal. Like the decision to choose organic baby food, the timing of introducing water is about offering the best we can to our babies.

So, dear reader, the next time someone ambushes you at a party or a play date, inquiring, "When can infants drink water?", stand tall. You've got the facts, wrapped up in a story. You've journeyed through the treacherous terrains of infant nutrition and emerged victorious. You're a veritable hero, minus the shining armor.

Let's remember, every baby's needs are unique. When in doubt, your pediatrician is your trusted guide. After all, parenting is a journey filled with questions, joys, and yes, a dash of humor. So let’s embrace it all, one organic baby food jar at a time.


1. World Health Organization. (2021). Infant feeding. WHO.
2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Water: How much should you drink every day? Mayo Clinic.
3. Eidelman, A. I., Schanler, R. J., & Breastfeeding, S. (2012). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 129(3), e827-e841.

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