Thank you to the VIP who asked this question: "Does my 7 month old baby 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.
Baby Need Water?
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 skills.
At 7 months old, your baby will still be nipple feeding (i.e. breastfeeding or formula feeding) several times a day. They’ll be meeting their need for fluids through nipple feeding. So, your little one doesn’t need water to meet their nutritional needs.
Learning to drink from a cup is a learned skill. Any time from 6 months onwards is a great time to start. 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 their face. A clever mom in one of my recent workshops shared how she dresses her 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, tip their head up just the right amount, and close their lips around the cup. It’s amazing how fast and how young they pick up this skill! Now you may have noticed that so far I’ve only been talking about using an open/ lidless cup.
That’s because kids don’t actually need a sippy cup. Sippy cups are helpful for parents because it means less spills. But they aren’t actually a developmental need for kids. In fact, sippy cups with the valves/ bladders in them teach your kids to suck – not sip. They aren’t actually any skill progression from a bottle. Removing the valve/ bladder gets kids moving back towards sipping instead of sucking. But it also means more spills. Some speech language professionals recommend cups with straws instead of sippy cups because of concerns about oral movement and development.
The Bottom Line
While your 7 month old baby doesn’t need water yet, it’s a great time to start offering the opportunity to learn how to drink from a cup. Sippy cups and cups with straws are handy ways to limit spills. But they aren’t needed for kids to learn how to drink from a cup.