Why You Shouldn’t Give Water to a Baby Under 6 Months Old
It’s hard to imagine our lives without drinking water, especially on a hot sunny day, but do our babies need it when they’re little? It turns out that babies should be given water only after they turn 6 months old, otherwise it could endanger their health. Starting your baby on water can be a really tricky issue, and it’s better to have a deeper look into it, to make sure you keep your little one safe.
Here at Bright Side we’ve looked at the medical side of adding water to a baby’s diet, and here are some basic recommendations that pediatricians are giving to parents of little ones.
Breast milk alone is enough for your baby to stay hydrated.
The first thing we need to understand is that while being a source of fat, protein, sugar, minerals, and other vital components that the body of a growing child needs so much, breast milk is also more than 80% water. It fully satisfies the baby’s thirst, even when it’s hot. So every time your baby gets breast milk, they basically get water with all the necessary nutrients.
If you are feeding your child with infant formula, they also get enough water with their feeds. But be careful — infant formula should not be watered down, otherwise your child will not be getting all the necessary calories and nutrients that they need to grow and develop.
Start your baby on water only after they turn 6 months old.
According to the World Health Organization, babies don’t need water during the first 6 months of their lives. Pediatricians believe it is safe to offer infants 2 to 4 ounces of water between 6 and 12 months old. But don’t be surprised if your baby is not really interested in drinking water — this is normal for a baby who’s still getting breast milk or formula.
Why giving water to a baby before the 6 months can be dangerous.
Giving water to babies younger than 6 months old can cause malnutrition, because it can make the baby drink less breast milk and get less calories and nutrients. Additionally, water or watered down formula given to young babies can cause water intoxication, which in turn can lead to serious health problems and even death. In cases where water given to a child is not clean, it can also lead to infections. Unfortunately, there are cases where parents think they can stretch the amount of formula they have if they water it down, but this puts the life of their children in danger.
If you don’t know what the right way is to feed your child, or if you have any other questions concerning child rearing, it’s best to consult a pediatrician who will examine your baby and answer all of your questions.
Do you have kids? What are the most tricky parenting problems you’ve encountered while raising your child? What solutions have you found?