Water for Thirst – Birth to 6 Months
Supplies and Preparation
- Sugar, spoon, labels, bottle or sippy cup
- What’s Next? Water Is Best!
Starting the Conversation
- What are some of the things you have heard from family, friends, or others about what your baby should be drinking now? What about as he gets older?
1. What to drink—now and later.
- Discuss with the parent that breast milk or formula are the only things baby needs right now:
- Your baby is getting all of his nutritional needs from breast milk or formula. Breast milk of formula is best because it is easy for your baby to digest, helps baby stay hydrated, and contains all of the nutrition he needs.
- This won’t change until baby gets a little bit older. Talk with your medical provider about when it’s time to introduce other liquids and solids.
- Don’t add any sweeteners, such as honey or sugar, to your baby’s bottle. Honey and other sweeteners cause cavities.
Talk with the parent about when and how to introduce water:
- Even though your baby is getting all of his nutritional needs from breast milk or formula, he’s going to be introduced to new foods and drinks before you know it.
- When you begin serving single grain cereal to your baby, mix it with water, breast milk, or formula—NOT juice or other sugary beverages.
- When you’re ready to introduce liquids besides breast milk or formula, offer your baby water. Ask your medical provider when and if he should also start drinking milk at mealtimes.
- Babies DO NOT need juice, soda pop, or other sugary beverages. These drinks cause cavities and should be avoided.
- If you feed your baby during the night, when baby is ready, start substituting water for breast milk or formula (consult your medical provider).
- If you eventually give baby a bottle or sippy cup to drink from during the day and/or put baby to bed with a bottle, fill it only with water.
Extending the Learning
A. Sing the song “Drinking Up the Water”
(To the tune “All the Fish are Swimming in the Water”)
(Insert child’s name) is drinking up the water,
drinking up the water, drinking up the water.
(Insert child’s name) is drinking up the water, gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp,
B. Busy, Thirsty Baby
Have baby lay on the parent’s lap facing her parent. Have the parent say the child’s name in the chant as she gently exercises her hands and legs in and out.
Busy (name) needs a drink!
Water for (name’s) little hand (bring right hand to center)
All the way to (name’s) fingers! (bring right hand out)
Water for (name’s) little foot (bring right foot up toward tummy)
All the way to (name’s) toes! (bring right foot back out)
(Repeat with other hand and foot)
Thirsty (name) needs water to drink!
C. Label Reading
Read labels on juice containers to determine the amounts of sugar. Spoon that amount into an empty bottle or sippy cup.
- What questions do you have about water and your baby?
- What are some things you could say to your family or friends who tell you that you need to give your baby juice, soda pop, or other drinks?
- What barriers might you face in serving your baby water instead of juice, soda pop, or other drinks? How can I support you in overcoming those barriers?