Why Very Young Babies Shouldn’t Drink Water

Even though water helps us stay hydrated, babies do not need it during their first few months since they get all the hydration they need from breast milk and formula. At the same time, there are some health problems that could arise from giving water to an infant who is not old enough.

5-Minute Crafts will share some important facts to know before offering this liquid to your little one. However, keep in mind that you should always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

Why babies shouldn’t drink water

Water interferes with their nutrition.

First of all, it’s important to know that babies have very small bellies. For example, newborn babies can only hold 1 to 2 teaspoons in their stomachs, and when they are 1 month old, their capacity is between 2.7 and 5 ounces.

So, instead of filling a baby’s tummy with a non-nutritious liquid, it’s necessary to feed them with nourishing substances, such as breast milk or formula, which have all the essential vitamins, minerals, fat, and calories for their appropriate growth and development.

In short, giving water to a little baby can be related to risks like a lack of nutrients and insufficient weight gain.

Water can lead to intoxication and chemical imbalances.

Baby kidneys can’t handle the same amount of water as adult kidneys. Therefore, if they are given more water than they can process, the excess ends up in the bloodstream, diluting the fluid and lowering the concentration of sodium and other important electrolytes. Too much dilution can result in very low salt levels in the bloodstream, also known as hyponatremia, which can cause life-threatening conditions, such as brain swelling.

At the same time, water intoxication can affect other functions, leading to symptoms like low body temperature or seizures.

When babies can drink water

Babies can start drinking water at around 6 months old. You can introduce small amounts of cooled boiled water in a teaspoon or tablespoon. However, breast milk and formula should continue to be their main source of hydration.

If a baby has recently begun eating solid food, he or she can have a few sips of water from a cup while they are eating. This can help them learn how to drink this way and prevent constipation.

When babies are 6 to 12 months old, their water intake should not exceed 4 to 8 ounces a day respectively. A higher amount can result in water intoxication.

General recommendations

  • If your baby is under 6 months old, keep him or her hydrated by offering them more frequent breastfeeds or bottle feeds during hot weather or when their body reaches a high temperature. Do not give them water unless recommended by a doctor.
  • Avoid diluting the formula with more water than needed. Although it may seem like the right thing to do on a hot day, this action can prevent your baby from getting enough nutrients. At the same time, this can result in giving them more water than their kidneys can process.
Preview photo credit Emojipedia
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