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Babies under six months of age should never drink water, and doing so could have fatal consequences.

As the weather warms up it is important to know that water is NOT recommended for young babies and could actually be life threatening to them.

Business Insider explains the risks of newborn babies consuming even the tiniest amount of water.

While adults are made up of 55-60% water, the average baby is roughly 75% water.

This means that even the smallest amount of H20 would affect the balance of water in a baby’s body. It can potentially overload the kidneys, leading to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia.

Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist, explained the impact to Yahoo UK, saying, “Kidneys are also too immature in infants under six and water can cause intoxication as a result of an imbalance in electrolytes such as sodium.

“This can cause hyponatraemia, which is where too much water has diluted the sodium levels of the body. This can cause complications such as swelling of the brain, seizures and, in extreme cases, death.”

“Giving water to an infant can affect the baby’s ability to receive adequate nourishment.

“Their stomachs are so tiny and can fill up easily with water, making it difficult for them to get the nourishment they require.”

Babies older than six months may be given some water, for example to help with constipation or in hot weather, but it should only be a small amount of water at a time and should not replace milk feeds.

Breastmilk or formula should still be their main drink until they reach 12 months of age.

The problem is not just with drinking water, when parents accidentally dilute baby formula too much it can also pose a threat to baby.

Early symptoms of water intoxication which parents and carers should be aware of are a low body temperature (about 36°C or less) and puffiness or swelling in the face.

If your baby is showing signs of water intoxication it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Read more – Offering an infant water could actually do more damage than good!

Share your comments below

  • I can’t remember how old my babies were when they first had water. I know it would have been boiled and cooled for them to drink. I thought they would have needed water, especially in hot weather

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  • Goodness, I had heard about this but not this in depth, thank you for the informative read.

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  • Im not sure i understand why anyone would give an infant water to begin with.

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  • I never knew this. I was told if my sons got hungry between feeds just to give them lukewarm water in a bottle. Luckily they are both okay.

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  • Yes, it is dangerous to give a baby too young water to drink. However sometimes a young baby’s mouth may get dry especially in a warm atmosphere especially if baby sleeps with his or her mouth open at all. We were advised to give approx a teaspoon (age dependant) if needed. Baby may not be hungry enough to accept an additional feed.

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  • I am certainly no expert but do believe there was (at-least when my children were born ) and may still be conflicting advice on this. Just like when my daughter was born 30+ years ago they put her on her stomach in the hospital and once when she was unsettled in hospital a nurse brought her to me and told me to nap with her (I actually did let her sleep next to me but I never closed my eyes). The thing is we are learning new things every day and health, science etc are updating and finding new and improved things, even things that we did way back that may have been dangerous.

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  • My midwives have always repeated this this at the in home chekc once I left the hospital. “Let her drink milk like you would drink water” is the best way I’ve heard it put.

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  • It’s all about education and awareness. This is something I knew, but perhaps it’s wrong to assume that everyone knows this. Maternal Health Nurses are a good source of info such as this.

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  • This is not new information. We never gave water under 6 months indeed.

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  • Was never told this and my mother was a midwife and she never said anything. My grand daughter is 4 and her mother was giving her little bottles of water. I was told to use a syringe and squirt a bit of cooled boiled water for my oldest as we lived in a very hot humid climate at the time.

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  • I was really surprised to read this article. When my oldest was born (she’s 7 now) she was quite difficult to settle at times even when we were still in hospital when she was newborn – so the midwives told me give her a little bit of lukewarm water in a bottle to help settle her! They certainly never told us that it was actually really dangerous to do this! I’m now very thankful that she is ok now!

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  • I have seen people give babies worse things than water, so how dangerous is water really? I think it is safe to always breastfeed but what about if mum is dehydrated from hot weather? What do formula fed babies do? Is it not mixed with water? More research and detailed information is needed.

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  • I thought this was common knowledge but I see from the comments it is not.
    Just because you, your family and friends survived, doesn’t mean many babies you don’t know didn’t survive.
    Breastfed babies in particular don’t need water even until 12. Formula babies should only get water or watered down formula under the advice of a pediatrician. And stick to their amounts specified.
    I’m so sick of hearing the argument, well I survived. It’s not a valid argument.

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  • An older person told me they were told by Drs to give their babies water in hotter months. I can’t recall what I did but if you can give them solids at 4 months, I would think a small amount of boiled cooled water would be ok

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  • Both my kids were given water as babies, both were on formula & have grown up to be healthy adults. As with all things if it is given using common sense especially during warm weather & not as a replacement for their usual feeds there should not be a problem. Would love to know where they get this misinformation from because doctors, nurses & 2 paediatricians told me it was fine to use water between normal feeds if they became unsettled looking for a bottle. They even gave water to my newborn while we were in hospital when he would not latch on for breastfeeding, a small amount of water was tube fed to him because it has no calories so he would still look for a feed from the breast. Not all babies will need water but if they are given solid food before 6 months they may need it, the only liquid I never gave them was juice because it can cause problems with their health & teeth.
    Too much water for babies & adults can be dangerous especially in 1 go but using common sense it shouldn’t be.

    Reply

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