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Do Babies Need to Drink Water?
The subject of babies drinking water, and what type of water, continues to be a confusing subject for parents. Most doctors agree, though, that giving babies water before six months of age is unnecessary. For strictly breastfed babies, there is no need for any water supplementation, and for bottle-fed babies, formula is comprised of over 80% water. If water is given at all, it should be only in 2 to 3 ounces. This is to prevent baby from filling up on water, or taking it in lieu of breast milk or formula, which will deprive baby of nutrients.
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Too Much Water is Bad for Baby
There are incidences of water intoxication in infants. If babies under one year are given excessive water, it can lead to seizures. Also something that many parents might not realize is that swimming lessons for infants can cause too much water ingestion and also lead to seizures, so it’s recommended that swimming lessons are postponed until after one year.
If it is excessively hot weather, parents may feel inclined to supplement with water, but doctors advice that breastfeeding mothers simply increase their water intake, and mothers of formula-fed infants stick to the 3 or 3 ounces, if at all.
If You Give Baby Water
As for the type of water to give baby, that is a subject still up for debate. Distilled, tap, spring, boiled? Many doctors say that after 6 months, boiling tap water isn’t necessary, and may even contribute to later issues like asthma and eczema due to the concept of “over-sterilization.” There is the belief that tap water is actually tested more often for safety than bottled, and that buying bottled water is only a waste of money. If you’re nervous about your city’s tap water, try using a good sink filter, or have it tested.
Distilled water like Nursery Water is still a popular type to mix with formula, but bottled or spring water are not highly recommended because of mineral content.
Water is Better Than Juice
When you do switch from bottle to sippy cup, as many parents do at about a year, this is the time to introduce water as the primary drink over juice. This begins healthy habits and doesn’t familiarize your child to the taste of sugar. Doctors usually recommend no more than 4 ounces of juice per day. At this age, when baby is eating solid foods, over-consumption of water is not a huge concern and baby should just drink to satisfy thirst, mostly with water and milk.
To give water or not? Ask your doctor and your mother, and when in doubt – just give the kid an empty plastic bottle to platy with!