By: Kristen Yarker, MSc, Dietitian
Thank you to the parent who asked this question:
Does my 7 month old need water?
The short answer is: No. Seven month olds don’t need water.
But, it’ a great time to start offering it to them anyways.
Let me explain.
We offer little ones solid foods starting at about 6 months of age for two reasons:
- To meet their nutritional needs.
- To provide the opportunity to learn eating (and drinking) skills.
Meeting Nutritional Needs
At 7 months old, your baby will still be breastfeeding or formula feeding several times a day and will meeting their need for fluids this way. So, your little one doesn’t need water to meet their nutritional needs. If you take a vacation this winter to someplace hot, you’ll likely notice that your little one will nurse more. They instinctively do this to meet their increased fluid needs.
Slowly and gradually over time, as your little one eats more and more solid foods, and does less breast or formula feeding, they’ll start to need water or milk to meet their fluid needs. This is a gradual process from about 9 months to 2 years or beyond.
Learning Eating (and Drinking) Skills
Drinking from a cup is a learned skill. Any time from 6 months onwards is a great time to start learning.
From time-to-time, when your little one is sitting at the table, offer them a small amount of water (I’m talking an inch deep or less) in an open (lidless) cup.
Yes, the first few times the water will pour down your little one’s face. I recommend having a towel on-hand.
Or, as a clever mom in one of my recent workshops shared, dress your little one in only a diaper when doing this – there’s less clean-up!
Over time your little one will learn how to hold on to the cup, close their lips around the cup’s rim, and tip their head back just the right amount.
It’s amazing how fast and how young they pick up this skill!
The Bottom Line:
While your 7 month old doesn’t need water yet, it’s a great time to start offering the opportunity to learn how to drink from a cup.
Do you have a question that you’d like me to answer here? Email me at Kristen@vitaminkconsulting.com and mention “Love Child Blog” in the subject line.
Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD
The Dietitian who Transforms Picky Eaters into Food-Confident Kids
Answering the question “How do I get my kids to try new foods?”