Water is essential for survival and good health, since it flushes out harmful toxins to keep our system clean and enhances digestion. Water keeps our body hydrated and functioning well. But have you ever wondered if it is safe for infants?
Well, water is actually not as good for infants as we might think it is. New mothers should refrain from giving water to infants below six months of age as breast milk or formula can take care of all their needs. Breast milk has the right amount of water, fats, proteins, Vitamin C and immunity-related components like Immunoglobin A and other nutrients in it. Babies don’t need anything beyond that, and even if they’re being fed formula, that takes care of their hydration requirements entirely.
Here’s why new mothers should not give their babies water at least for the first six months.
WATER IS A ZERO CALORIE DRINK
Water lacks nutrients but occupies space in the baby’s system, which interferes with their ability to take in more breast milk or formula. Calories and nutrients from the breast milk or formula are more important for your baby as compared to plain water for optimum physical and mental growth during
the initial months. According to the World Health Organization, giving water to babies prior to six months of age can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in breast milk or formula. Excess water intake can also make your baby’s tummy feel full and prevent them from taking enough nutritious food.
EXCESS CONSUMPTION OF WATER BY INFANTS CAN LEAD TO THE DILUTION OF ELECTROLYTES AND OTHER VITAL FLUIDS
There is no need to be worried about dehydration as breast milk or formula feeding takes care of the same. Excess intake of water can lead to dilution of electrolytes and other essential fluids leading to water intoxication. That is also why you must never dilute the formula beyond the recommended
Give your baby water only when once you start weaning your infant and that should ideally be after 6 months of age.
About The Author: Dr. Krystel Quadros is a Dietician. She has Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics.