When the days are hot, you may wonder if your infant needs a drink of water just like adults. In other cases, if money is tight some mothers may think of diluting his expensive baby formula so to cut down on the cost. Before you fill up that bottle with water and give it to your baby, ask your pediatrician first. There is usually no need to give water to a baby since he is properly hydrated if given enough breast milk and properly mixed formula.
If you give your baby water, especially if he is under six months of age, you put him at risk for water intoxication. Your baby's electrolyte balance will be disturbed and he will fill up on water instead of much needed breast milk or formula. If this happens, he won't get the proper nutrients that he needs.
- Do not give any water to a baby under six months old. Period.
- Older babies may be given very small amounts of water. Never give a bottle of water directly to a baby without supervising his intake. His primary liquid intake must still be breast milk or formula.
- Do not dilute baby formula and breast milk. Adding water will change the electrolyte balance of the formula, as well as change its nutritional content. Your baby won't get the nutrients he needs in the right doses if you dilute with water. Your baby will get too full to drink more milk to get the enough of the nutrients intended.
- If you want to save money, breastfeed your baby instead of using formula. It is perfect every single time, is always available and it's free. Breastfeeding will help you bond with your baby, as well as keep him healthy and boost him immune system. If you work, use a breast pump to get the milk to bring home to your baby. Make sure that you eat a nutritious diet and are properly hydrated whenever you breastfeed of pump milk to ensure ample milk supply.
- Consult your pediatrician before making any changing to your baby's milk and solid food intake.
- Some water may be introduced when eating high protein solid food such as eggs. It is better to put small amounts of water to the food to make it easier to digest.
- Know the symptoms of water intoxication. If you notice your baby's face start to swell or get puffy, call your pediatrician immediately. Any change in disposition such as irritability or drowsiness is also a symptom.
- Get your baby immediate medical attention if he has water intoxication. This cannot be treated at home. If left untreated, your baby may have seizures because the change in electrolytes may affect the baby's brain activity.
The exception to the rule of giving babies water is if he is dehydrated or has diarrhea. In both cases, a doctor will guide you to give the proper amounts. In both situations, breast milk is still the best option because it will provide the proper hydration and nutritional balance needed at exactly the right time.