How you hydrate your baby while travelling or completely depends on the following conditions:

  • If she is under six months old and exclusively breastfed, you have found your sweet spot.  Just look after the mum’s health and hydration, and the rest will take care of itself.  You don’t have to worry about hassles with different water; they are also unlikely to be mobile, so you won’t be worried about them crawling around somewhere that may not be optimally clean, and basically, the whole food/water hygiene issue is simple.OR
  • If you are bottle feeding, mix feeding, or have a breastfed baby over six months old (who will then typically need additional liquids), you’ll find you’ll need to factor in when to give your baby water.  Of course, you’ll already be used to doing this at home, but when you’re away, you may not want your baby to drink the local water, and as you’ll see below, there are certain times you’ll need to up their liquid intake.

When to give your baby water BEYOND normal frequency.

  1. Airplane travel is dehydrating for humans of all ages, so up the liquids there.
  2. Hot countries and tropical destinations mean that again, travellers of all ages should drink more than usual.

What to do if you don’t think the local water is safe for your baby.

In countries where the water is unsafe to drink, (sometimes this is obvious, sometimes this is subjective) you’ll either need to boil water, use Milton tablets (also useful for sterilising bottles when travelling) or give your baby bottled water (be warned some brands don’t contain fluoride. If it’s just a short trip it’s probably not a concern, but if you’re away longer term, consider adding fluoride tablets in.)

Once you’ve factored in all of the above, don’t stress too much. Just be sensible, be safe, and as we’ve said above, remember that when you’re on a flight (or a country hotter than they are used to), your baby will need more liquids than normal. (So will you!)


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Aussie journalist, travel writer and founder of Sue White has always been a traveller. When her son was born, Sue knew her travel itch would still need regular scratching. But how do you travel with a baby under one and still have a good time? Is it even possible? Where do busy new parents discover practical tips to support those first few trips? To find out, Sue and her baby son travelled both Australia and Europe doing house sits and house swaps; cat sitting and car journeys; took on 24 hours flights and short domestic jaunts; travelled with friends, solo and family members; and cycled, drove, flew and train-ed around seven countries, all before his first birthday. Learn more about Sue.