Staying hydrated is important in summertime, when a cold drink of water hits the spot and helps cool you down.
The NHS says that fully breastfed babies under six months don’t need water until they’ve started eating solid foods.
Advising against drinking water may seem counterintuitive, but babies who are exclusively breastfed receive all the hydration they need from breastmilk.
Formula-fed babies may need water in hot weather, the NHS advises that tap water is actually not sterile and needs to be boiled first, the Mirror reports.
The NHS website states: “For babies under 6 months, you should not use water straight from the mains tap in the kitchen as it is not sterile.
“You will need to boil the tap water first and then let it cool down. Water for babies over 6 months doesn’t need to be boiled.”
Do babies need water?
The short answer is no.
Up until the age of six months, breastfed children should not be given water at all, while formula-fed babies should only be given water in small quantities in hot weather.
And according to Katie Zeratsky, a dietitian at the Mayo Clinic, while children older than six months can have a sip of water here and there, it’s not necessary and they can actually live without any water until they’re a year old.
She told Buzzfeed : “They get all of their fluid needs through human milk or infant formula. Even on a hot day they can get all of their hydration needs through human milk or formula.”
Why is it dangerous?
Breastmilk provides all of the nutrients a baby needs, and because they develop so quickly when they’re little, it’s vital they receive everything they need to grow big and strong.
You should therefore only ever give your baby milk, as giving them water can impact their ability to absorb the proteins, vitamins, and other good stuff that milk provides.
Pharmacist Abbas Kanani told Yahoo UK : “Their stomachs are so tiny and can fill up easily with water, making it difficult for them to get the nourishment they require.”
He adds: “Giving water to an infant can affect the baby’s ability to receive adequate nourishment.”
What happens if a baby drinks water?
Water consumption under the age of six months can lead to water intoxication.
Katie says: “Water intoxication is where you consume too much water in a short period of time and your blood level of sodium drops … making a tragic situation.”
This can then lead to an overloading of the kidneys, which Katie said can result in a possible imbalance in the levels of electrolytes like sodium.
Abbas said that this drop in sodium is a result of too much water being fed into the body, a condition known as hyponatraemia.
This could later lead to swelling of the brain, seizures and in some cases can be fatal.
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