Solid Food and Liquids
You've probably heard it before - milk feeds, be it breast or formula, should be provided to baby as usual until they are at least 1 (longer's cool too!)
That said, you may find that baby's interest in milk begins to drop off as they start eating more and more solids. That's totally normal, and eventually their eating should consolidate around 3 meals + 2 snacks a day.
Back to our question - what about water?
Whilst baby will still be getting their usual milk (which means they'll be perfectly hydrated!) it's generally advised to start offering small sips of water alongside solids from around 6 months, or when you begin with weaning. This is mostly to prevent constipation - as new foods can do a number on tiny tummies. Don't stress if they don't take to it. Like everything else in the world of weaning, just keep offering it and they'll eventually get the hang of it.
From 6 months, you can offer water straight from the tap. No need to boil! You're welcome.
Do I offer it in a bottle? Or cup? Or beaker?
Collective deep breath. The number of cups available out there is truly astounding. Who knew cups needed disrupting!
There's no need for a special cup. Truly! In fact, it's better for baby to get used to a normal cup from the outset, rather than a no-spill beaker. Using an open cup or a free-flow cup without a valve will help your baby learn to sip (rather than suck) and is better for your baby’s teeth in the longer term.
I hate the taste of water. What can I add to help my baby like it?
Please don't :) It can take up to 20 tries of something to adjust to the taste, and as long as you keep offering plain water, your baby will learn to accept plain water.
(In general it's a good exercise to do a bit of soul-searching before offering solids. Ask yourself - what foods do I have fears or hesitancies around? Then put on your poker face and offer them to your child. We're willing to bet they'll take to them!)
Simply put, adding juice or squash to water isn't suitable for young babies. The sugar in them can cause tooth decay, even for the youngest among us. They can also encourage an outsized preference for sugary foods and fill them up before they've managed to consume important nutrients from their food.