You’re feeling parched on a scorching summer day, so it only makes sense that you go for a tall, ice-cold glass of water. Because of this, you start to question if your child, who is currently 3 months old, too requires some water in order to prevent dehydration and cope with the heat. Even though you have good intentions, you must resist the urge to offer your infant any liquids until they have reached the age of six months.
Krystyn Parks, a pediatric registered dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Feeding Made Easy, explains that if you give your baby water prior to the age of six months, it will take the place of either formula or breast milk, which means they will not be getting the nutrition that they need. “Before the age of six months, giving your baby water will take the place of either formula or breast milk,” she says.
When infants reach the age of six months, they are permitted to drink a constrained amount of water. However, by the time a child is one year old, drinking water is no longer optional for them. In this article, we will delve deeper into the reasons why infants should only consume either breastmilk or formula during their first year of life.
Is Water Safe for My Baby?
It is neither required nor safe for a newborn to consume water before to the age of six months. At this point in their development, infants receive all of the hydration that they require from either breast milk or formula.
If you live in a warm area and are concerned about your child’s ability to stay hydrated, you should be aware that breast milk is constituted of 80 percent water. If it is really hot outside or if you are concerned that your baby is not getting enough fluids, it is best to give them breast milk or formula on demand rather than water. This is especially important if you live in a dry climate.
Both breast milk and formula are composed primarily of water, however unlike water, they also include a wide variety of essential nutrients. Water does not.
According to Parks, “Babies often rely on a volume to tell them they have attained an acceptable quantity of nutrients. As a result, it might be difficult for them to know if they are getting what they need if you give them water, or really anything other than breast milk or formula.”
Before the age of six months, babies should not be given water because they run the risk of becoming full on water rather than the breast milk or formula that they require for proper nutrition. This can result in malnutrition, problems with supply, and early weaning that was not intended. In addition to being a potential health hazard, dirty water can make people sick with diarrhea or illnesses.
Risks of Giving Baby Water Too Soon
It is not essential nor safe to give a newborn child water too soon after birth. If your infant drinks water before the age of six months, it could cause a range of health issues for them.
The supply and demand model is used to explain how breastfeeding works. In the event that you are nursing your child, your body will continue to create breast milk regardless of the frequency with which your child nurses or with which you express your milk using a breast pump.
It is possible that you will unwittingly send the message to your body to create less milk if you choose to offer your infant water as an alternative to breastfeeding them. This could, over time, result in an unexpectedly early start to weaning.
It is possible for water to cause infections, which can make a baby unwell and lead to diarrhea. Water is not always clean enough to be safe for a newborn’s digestive tract.
The baby is at risk of being dehydrated if they have diarrhea, which is a serious concern. In addition, it purges the body of the nutrients that are present in breast milk or formula before those nutrients can be absorbed into the system of your kid, which can lead to malnutrition.
For optimal growth and development, particularly during the first six months of life, your infant requires the nutrients that can be obtained from either breast milk or formula. Providing your infant with water can result in them drinking less breast milk or formula, which can prevent them from consuming the required quantity of food. This can result in a lack of proper nutrients.
According to Aimee Tyler-Smith RD, BEd, a registered dietitian and the lead dietitian at The Nest: Nutrition for Mama and Baby, “water before 6 months can create an imbalance in their electrolytes and can decrease the amount of milk or formula they drink, taking away nutrients that are important for their growth and development.” “Water before 6 months can create an imbalance in their electrolytes and can decrease the amount of milk or formula they drink, taking away nutrients that are important for their growth and development.”
What Amount of Water Should I Give My Baby?
After the age of six months, you should gradually increase the amount of water that your infant consumes each day to between four and eight ounces. It is not recommended that they consume more than this until after their first year.
According to Parks, “They actually don’t need water in the beginning, so it is more about learning how to use a cup than it is about receiving water.” [Citation needed] The primary objective is to instill in them the habit of drinking water, preferably from an open cup, so that once they are weaned, they will be able to hydrate themselves correctly on their own.
Your infant needs to consume between 8 and 32 ounces of water each day by the age of one. As a result of the fact that every infant is unique, there will be those who are content with closer to 8 ounces, while others will drink closer to 32 ounces.