We all know how important it is to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, right? We're constantly trying to make sure we drink enough water everyday, and always making sure our kiddos are drinking enough. But a lot of parents, especially first-time parents, might be unaware of when it's considered safe for their new babies to start drinking water. Experts agree that you should wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before giving them small amounts of water in a bottle or sippy cup. It can actually be dangerous for newborn babies to drink water - here's what you need to know.
Why it's unsafe to give water to babies 6 months and younger
Newborn babies have all their nutritional needs met by formula or breast milk. They don't need any supplements (unless directed by your pediatrician). Formula and breast milk provide their nutrition, calories, and yes, even their hydration! Even on really got days, your newborn's needs are met with just formula or breast milk.
It can be dangerous for newborn babies to drink water for a couple of reasons. First, giving a newborn baby water can actually decrease their appetite; their little bellies will fill up with water, and they won't want to drink as much formula or breast milk. Over time, this can lead to a decrease in weight gain, and if you're nursing, can cause your milk supply to go down. Additionally, giving a newborn water can lead to a dangerous condition called water intoxication, which is when too much water is given too fast and the kidneys flush out much-needed sodium and electrolytes. This will inhibit their body's normal functions and could lead to seizures.
Is it okay to dilute formula with water?
It's also unsafe to give newborns formula diluted with water. Prepared and powdered formulas are portioned to meet the nutritional needs of growing babies with each feeding. Adding extra water to formula to dilute it also dilutes the important nutrients in the formula, and replaces vital calories with water. This can lead to a decrease in appetite and malnourishment.
What to do if your baby becomes dehydrated
If your baby is drinking breast milk or formula regularly, they're not in danger of becoming dehydrated. However, if your newborn baby is sick (vomiting and diarrhea) and is unable to keep fluids down, your doctor may advise you to give your baby small amounts of water until they're able to keep formula or breast milk down. This should only be done under the supervision of a doctor, who can guide you on how much water to give your baby.