5 Reasons You Should Not Give Water to Your New Born Baby
May 23, 2017
A common question that looms in every first-time parent’s mind is whether or not they can give water to their newborn child. The answer is, ‘no’. Babies should only be breastfed for the first 6 months according to the World Health Organization. Here are strong reasons behind this safe practice.
1. Water can impede nutrient intake
Your baby’s organs do not fully develop for many months after their birth. Giving them water can make it difficult for these organs to absorb the nutrients present in breast milk properly.
2. Water can make a baby full
For a baby, breast milk is the only source of energy and nutrients. So, too much water could make a baby full, and he or she may refuse to drink breast milk, which can be harmful.
3. Water may cause diarrhoea
You may take a lot of precautions before giving your baby some water. But pathogens can sometimes escape and make it into your child’s system. Since a baby’s immune system is not fully developed, even an otherwise harmless pathogen can lead to diarrhoea or some other health problem.
4. Water may cause intoxication
Water can cause electrolyte imbalance in babies easily. A baby’s body can readily lose sodium, which can cause tissues to swell. This can result in seizures and even coma if medical help is delayed.
Intoxication due to water intake in babies is rare and only happens when water is consumed in excess. However, it can cause serious problems and can be potentially fatal.
5. It may damage the kidney
Babies are more prone to water intoxication because their kidneys are underdeveloped. Too much water and the resulting electrolyte imbalance could put a lot of stress on a new born’s kidneys as well as other organs.
Remember that breast milk entirely fulfils your baby's water requirements – your baby does not require additional water even when the weather is hot and humid. If your baby is on formula, dilute it only with the recommended amount of water – this is usually mentioned on the label. In a case of severe dehydration, your baby might require an electrolyte drink, which you can give after consulting with a paediatrician.
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