Can I Give Water to My Newborn Baby?

The answer is no. You shouldn’t give new born babies and babies less than 6 months old water or water mixed with sugar. If you are feeding your baby formula milk, follow the instructions on how much water to add to the powder. Do not dilute it with more than amount of water called for.

Your new born will get all the necessary hydration he/she needs from the breast milk or formula. Breast milk itself consists of 88% water. So a baby doesn’t even need water on a hot summer day. A mother’s milk supply gradually gets established in the first few days after delivery. During this period, the baby is getting colostrum from the mother and this is enough to keep her sufficiently hydrated.

Water can interfere with an infant’s ability to absorb the nutrients in breastmilk or formula. Water alone can make her feel full and it may prevent her from feeding as much as she should. Apart from there, giving water to a new born can also cause water intoxication, a serious condition that occurs when excessive amount of water dilutes the concentration of sodium in the body which in turns upsets the electrolyte balance and causes tissues to swell. Although not really common, if it occurs it could potentially cause seizures and put the infant in a coma and even lead to death.

If the new born has contracted a bout of gastroenteritis resulting in vomiting and diarrhea and he/she requires more hydration, the doctor may recommend an electrolyte drink which is a balanced solution to restore essential fluids and minerals such as potassium and sodium. A doctor will also recommend to give your baby 2 ounces of water a day if he/she is constipated to get her back on track.

Generally, water should not be given to a baby who is less than 6 months old. When solids are introduced to the baby after 6 months, he/she shouldn’t be fed more than 2 ounces of water in 24 hours till they reach 1 year old. When necessary, seek advice from a paediatrician.

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