Let's talk Hydration

Let's talk Hydration

Let's talk Hydration

Water is an essential nutrient – we need it to survive. In fact, 45-75% of our body weight is made of water. Even a body water loss of 1-2% can have some serious consequences, including cognitive impairment.

With so much of our body being made up of water, it will probably come as no surprise how many important roles water plays in our everyday functions. 

Water helps regulate our body temperature, keeping us cool and warm.

It provides lubrication to our joints and organs, supports optimal functioning of our heart and circulatory system, provides structure to our cells and tissues, and works to move nutrients throughout our body.

But how much water is enough?

A number of factors determine how much water our children will need, such as age, sex, activity level, and what else they eat and drink.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the average hydration requirements for children are as follows.

Babies, 1-3 years old

Total hydration needs: 6 cups (1300 mL)

→ 4 cups (900 mL) of this should come from water

Toddlers, 4-8 years old

Total hydration needs: 7 cups (1700 mL)

→ 5 cups (1200 mL) of this should come from water

*Note that “total hydration needs” refers to hydration that comes from a combination of water, other fluids, and moisture-rich foods in your child’s diet. The amount that should come directly from water each day is listed as well.

**Note that exclusively breastfed babies, especially under 6 months old, do not need additional water to meet their hydration needs. Water can be introduced from around 4-6 months old, but shouldn’t be offered until after your baby has breastfed. 

Where else can hydration come from?

As mentioned in the note above, hydration can come from certain foods and other beverages in addition to water.

For instance, children who drink milk can count some of this toward their hydration needs. Babies who are on formula will also receive fluids this way.