Were you surprised when your pediatrician told you that do not give your newborn baby water! And this must have set off a flurry of questions in your head. Why can’t babies have water? Is water safe for my baby? When can I give my baby water? Here is what you should know about infants and water?
Babies don’t need water!
It is widespread knowledge that exclusive breastfeeding is endorsed for the first six months for a baby and 80% of breastmilk is water. This satisfies the baby’s thirst and the nutrients of breastmilk help him grow. In fact, giving baby water can make her have less breastmilk owing to a feeling of fullness.
Why can’t I give water to my newborn?
Experts as well as World Health Organization (WHO) do not recommend giving babies water before 6 months even during the hottest of months. They say:
- Water could be contaminated leading to infections.
- Water makes the newborn feel full, and she might consume less breastmilk.
- The mother will produce less milk if the baby’s demand goes down.
- There are no nutrients in water and with baby each sip/morsel counts.
- Water could lead to malnutrition, weight loss, and diarrhea.
- Water dilutes the infant body’s normal sodium levels leading to a condition called water intoxication
Is breastmilk sufficient for the first six months of life?
Yes, breastmilk alone is sufficient during the first six months of an infant’s life because :
- it offers complete nutrition that the baby requires for optimum growth and development.
- it offers complete nutrition
- it counters risk of infection
- breastmilk provides immunity boosters
- Reduces risk of allergies
- aids in easy digestion
- it enhances optimum growth and development;
in addition providing a number of physical and psychological benefits to the mother and her baby.
Word of Caution
Although breastmilk is the gold standard for all infants offering indispensable and innumerable benefits, certain cases may require medical intervention and water may be advised. Always consult your child’s pediatrician and follow medical advice.