While drinking more water is a good idea for everyone,
especially during hot summer months, it can be
harmful to babies 6 months and younger. According to a
study in Physician Reviews, a 1997 survey of new mothers
found that nearly 25 percent give their babies water in
at least 3 times a week during the first month of life.
Water poisoning is rare in children and adults who are
able to judge own water needs by thirst and activity.
But babies cannot do this. In addition, the kidneys of
newborns leak more slowly than older babies,
causing dilution of sodium levels in the blood.
According to the doctors, there were 24 cases of water intoxication.
reported at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in the years
1989 to 1991. The problem seems to be increasing since only
10 cases were reported between 1985 and 1988. In the cases
reported that the otherwise healthy babies were 4 to 5 months old
and drank three 8 oz. bottles of water within 6 to 12 hours.
Symptoms of water intoxication include pale urine, using
more than 8 diapers a day and the baby sleeps more than usual
and be hard to wake up.
Mothers should be advised that healthy babies get all the
the water they need in breast milk or formula.
A baby can become intoxicated with water as a result of drinking
several bottles of water a day or by drinking baby
formula that has been diluted too much.
The water fills the baby without adding calories, so the water
supplementation can result in weight loss or insufficiency
weight gain for the baby.
Pediatricians recommend feeding babies 2 to 3 oz. more than
your age in months at each meal. For example, babies 4
months old would feed 6 to 7 oz. three times a day. More
8 oz. in any feeding it is rarely necessary. The normal
milk to water ratios should be about two-thirds of milk
to a third of water. With these proportions, the baby
receives approximately 8 oz. of water evenly spaced over 24 hours
period. If the formula is diluted, smooth should not be less
Only around seven months of age, when the baby has started
eat solid food, if a little water is put into a
Water poisoning can be prevented by following your
To learn more about water and its health benefits for
old and young alike: http://www.apluswriting.net/health/babywater.htm
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