Reasons Why It Could Be Harmful To Give A Young Baby Water

Jul 30, 2019

It's often said that being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Being in charge of another person's life – one who cannot fend for themselves yet – comes with an immense amount of responsibility.

When preparing for this very important job, parents do a lot of research. They read books, perform online searches, ask advice from friends and family, and bombard their child's pediatrician with questions.

While there is so much information out there about how much sleep a baby should get, what products are best, how to feed and bathe a baby, what vaccinations they need and when – one thing that is not frequently discussed is whether or not you should give your baby water.

We all know how crucial water is for children and adults, having it instilled in us that at least 8 glasses of water each day is ideal. What many of us may not know is that babies under the age of one do not need water. In fact, infants under the age of six months should not have any water at all. Their fluid intake should all come from either breast milk or formula.

This is because their tiny bellies can only hold so much at one time. If they fill up on water, they won't be hungry enough to consume the necessary calories and fat they receive from breast milk or formula.

Since babies grow so rapidly in the first six months of their life, it's extremely important that they receive the recommended calories and fat each and every day. Since water contains absolutely no calories or fat, it has zero nutritional value for them. The only way they can reach the required nutrition they need to grow up strong and healthy is by getting the recommended amounts of breast milk or formula every day.

Babies over the age of six months can start receiving nutrition from other sources, such as pureed fruits, vegetables, and meats. It's still not recommended that they consume anything with added sugars or unnecessary calories like fruit juices or sugary cereals, but at this point adding a little bit of water in on occasion is okay.

An infant of any age, but especially under the age of six months, can endure serious health problems if they are given too much water. Water intoxication can occur when the sodium level in the blood is reduced to dangerous levels, leading to such issues as seizures, coma, or even death. Water intoxication can even occur in older children and adults, although it's more difficult to reach the dangerously low sodium levels in the blood because it requires a much larger intake of water.

Since babies cannot express when they are feeling sick, it's important to avoid giving them water to evade this potentially tragic circumstance. Infants under the age of six months should be exclusively breastfed or given formula. Mixing formula with the correct amount of water is vital to ensure babies receive the proper amount of nutrition with each feeding.

Babies aged six months and older can begin receiving some of their calories from other sources, but breast milk and formula should still remain the main part of their diet until they reach the age of one.

After the age of one year, milk should be the primary source of a child's fluid intake. Water can be given daily as well, but eight glasses of water each day is not necessary until a child reaches the teenage years.

With so much important information for new parents to learn, it's imperative that they have an open dialogue with their child's pediatrician whenever they have questions or concerns. A pediatrician or other qualified health professional can offer the best advice when it comes to what to feed your baby and when.

Are you surprised that water isn't recommended for babies under the age of six months, and that it's only recommended that babies between the age of six months and one year receive very small amounts? Be sure to pass this information along to your friends and family, and especially to any young parents you may know. It just might save a young baby's life.

Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation by your doctor. Your health is important to us!