Pediatricians have warned parents about the dangers of feeding water to babies who are under the age of six months, as this can prove extremely detrimental to their health.The reason for this is the possibility of water intoxication.
Babies do not need water in the same way that children and adults do, even on a hot summer’s day. According to a study published by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, breast milk is incredibly rich in water with a low concentration of electrolytes.
This means that breast milk can sufficiently hydrate your baby for the first six months of its life. However, some parents may be unaware of the real dangers of supplying their young tots with water. Danielle Stringer, a pediatrician otherwise known as the KidNurse, outlined the reasons why parents should avoid quenching their babies’ thirst with water when they’re too young.
“Babies do NOT need water the same way adults do. In fact, babies should not be offered water until they are six months old,” Stringer wrote on her blog.
“Here’s a fact that many parents do not know: breast milk is composed of 88 per cent water. “Breast milk or formula has all the fluid that your baby needs!” If a baby is given too much water, this can result in water intoxication and consequently lead to death.
“Water intoxication is the process that occurs when a baby is given too much water and the water then causes sodium (salt) dilation in the body,” Stringer writes. Stringer detailed to the Daily Mail Online all about what can happen if water intoxication occurs.
“Their bodies will try to overcompensate by having the cells take on more water, which will result in swelling all over the body, including in the brain, which can result in seizures, coma or brain death,” she said. Stringer provided further advice on the KidNurse website about what parents should do to ensure the optimal health of their babies.
Her tips included sharing this information with other parents, taking babies for regular weight checks, mothers being confident in their abilities to breastfeed, following the instructions on formula accurately and carefully offering babies water at six months old.
Stringer advised that babies who are six months old should only consume two ounces of water in 24 hours until their first birthday.
However, you should always seek professional advice from your doctor.