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Drinking Water for Infants and Babies

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Baby Bottle

Newborn babies do just fine with formula or breast milk; drinking water is not recommended until about 6-12 months (too much water can cause jaundice or intoxication). For children under 1-year-old drinking too much water may be a dangerous practice because it dilutes a baby’s normal sodium levels. Breast milk or formula provides all the fluid healthy babies need. Keep in mind that breastmilk is 88% water.

For newborns (especially under 4-5 weeks), water supplements can be risky
• Babies under two months old should not be given supplemental water
• Too much water can lead to oral water intoxication
• Babies who get water supplements are less interested in nursing. If baby is not nursing as often as they should it will take longer for the mom’s milk to come in
• Water supplements fill the baby without adding calories. This can result in insufficient weight gain or weight loss

For babies past the newborn stage
• Too much water can interfere with breastfeeding because it fills the baby up so he nurses less. Water does not give the baby the nutrition it needs to grow.
• When your baby is beginning to learn a cup, giving him a few sips of water a couple times a day is okay.
• Once your baby starts eating solids you may give him a few sips of water to help prevent constipation.

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