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Drinks for your baby

Sip, sip, hooray!

Babies below 6 months, whether breast or bottle fed, do not need and should not be offered any additional water. Babies should be fed responsively, if a baby is showing feeding cues, offer the breast or their bottle and pace feed them.

Speak to your health visitor or GP before giving your baby water under 6 months. During warm weather you may find your baby will breast or bottle feed more frequently, this is normal.

During meal times, offer your baby sips of water from an open or free-flow cup (without a non-spill valve). This type of cup will help your baby learn to sip rather than suck, and is better for your baby’s teeth.

Sweet drinks like squash, fizzy drinks, milkshakes and fruit juice can have lots of sugar, so avoid these to help prevent tooth decay – even drinks labelled as suitable for babies and toddlers can be sugary.

Little boy drinking from cup

Cows’ milk is not a suitable drink until your baby is 12 months old, but it can be used in cooking or mixed with food from 6 months of age.

Bottled water is not recommended for use with your baby due to high levels of sodium, unless travelling abroad and you do not have access to safe tap water or sterile water.

View a transcript of this video here.

Travelling overseas

If you are travelling abroad and have to use bottled water because the local water is unsafe, make sure you read the label and check the water contains:

  • less than 200 milligrams (mg) a litre of sodium (also written as Na)
  • less than 250mg a litre of sulphate (also written as SO or SO4)

Remember bottled water is not sterile so would need to be boiled before using it to make up formula feeds.

Useful links

Page last reviewed: 23-11-2022

Next review due: 23-11-2025