Drinking Water for Babies

Drinking Water for Babies

Print Drinking Water for Babies

Making water safe to drink

When can my baby have water?

Breast milk or infant formula are a baby’s main food and drink for the first 12 months. Fully breastfed babies do not need any other drinks before six months of age. A baby having infant formula can be given water that has been boiled and cooled before six months of age, if extra fluid is needed, especially in hot weather. Around six months of age is a good time to start to offered small amounts of cooled boiled water.

Making water safe to drink

Water given to babies to drink (or used to make up infant formula) should be boiled to make it germ free by either:

  • boiling water in an electric kettle until it switches off
  • on the stovetop using a kettle or pot, boil water until it comes to a rolling boil (water does not stop boiling if stirred)

Cool the boiled water to a safe temperature before giving it to your baby to drink. Store it in a sterilised bottle in the refrigerator. Find out how to sterilise water bottles

Town tap water

Town tap water has fluoride in it, which is important for your baby’s teeth. The recommendation is:

  • boil tap water until your baby is 12 months old.

Tank water

Tank water can be at risk of becoming unsafe to drink. Keeping tanks clean and well maintained can lower the risk. The recommendation is:

  • boil tank water to make it safe.

If you use tank water talk to your dentist about your child’s teeth as rainwater does not contain fluoride.

Information on keeping your water tank system safe - Guidance on use of rainwater tanks

Use of filters on taps

Filters do not make water germ free. Boil and cool filtered water before giving to babies.

Store bought bottled water

Bottled water is not needed unless in an emergency. Only use if the bottle is unopened or undamaged. Never use mineral water. It has high levels of salt and minerals, which is not good for your baby’s kidneys.

Water boil alerts

If you are living in an area on ‘boil alert’, even if connected to town water it is important to follow the advice given. For more information and check if your water supply is on boil alert

Want to know more

Ask your GP or child health nurse.