Water is the fundamental basis for all life on Earth. Nothing that exists here could survive without it. And a nice cool glass is pretty much universally enjoyed by everyone. But did you know that giving water to an infant could actually be fatal?
Up until they hit the 6 month age mark, babies operate almost entirely on a liquid diet, and of course, they couldn’t have it any other way. Breast milk and powdered formula provide babies with the nutrients they need while also keeping them hydrated, even when it’s hot outside. Babies under 6 months shouldn’t have any water for a few different reasons.
- Water curbs their appetite. When babies under 6 months are given water, their little stomachs can only hold so much, and it makes them feel full without actually being full. It fills their bellies, making it a lot more difficult to get them to eat when they are supposed to. This can cause your baby to be weak, tired, or underweight. An underweight baby is harder to keep warm, for one thing, but being underweight can also stunt the baby's growth.
- Water makes it harder for them to absorb nutrients. Because babies are so small and their bodies work so fast, drinking water can kick the kidneys and the metabolism into overdrive. This can cause the baby’s body to have a harder time absorbing essential nutrients from formula or milk in the future. It’s also of vital importance that you don’t try to stretch formula by mixing it with water because it’ll make the baby feel full without actually giving it the nutrients it needs.
- Babies are prone to water intoxication. Water intoxication is what happens when a baby has too much water. The water essentially dilutes the body’s sodium levels, causing an unhealthy electrolyte balance. This can cause irritability, confusion, drowsiness, facial swelling or puffiness, and in rare cases, seizures, comas, and death.
As a water company, we feel like this is pretty good information for all current and expecting mothers out there. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Mothers on the other hand, should stay hydrated while pregnant or breastfeeding!