Most people think of water as a harmless drink essential for life. While it is for adults, this is not true for babies. When your baby eats and drinks, he does it only when it is necessary, he knows what he needs and when he needs it. The nutrients within your body are in perfect balance. Giving him water before he really needs it can upset this balance and cause harm.
THE WATER THAT IS NECESSARY
The needs of your growing baby can be satisfied with his infests of milk formula or breast milk. Water intake need not be a concern until your child begins eating solid foods or until your pediatrician says it is appropriate.
All hydration needs must be met through formula or breast milk, even when the baby appears to be thirsty. However, if your child is eating solid foods and drinking at least a liter of breast milk or formula a day and still seems thirsty, it may be safe to offer a few teaspoons of water between feedings.
One of the dangers of a baby who ingests too much water is water poisoning. This occurs when water upsets the fluid and electrolyte balance within the body. Too much water can cause the kidneys to leak too much sodium. Inadequate amounts of sodium and too much water can cause brain swelling and other dangerous symptoms.
SYMPTOMS AND PREVENTION OF WATER POISONING
Symptoms of water intoxication are obvious and include seizures, irritability, drowsiness, decreased body temperature, and bloating. Babies under 1 year old and those who are already dehydrated are at the highest risk of water poisoning.
In an effort to rehydrate babies after an outbreak of vomiting or diarrhea, parents often give their babies water. However, a dehydrated baby also often lacks electrolytes. By feeding it directly, the water depletes this balance even more. The best way to avoid water poisoning and keep your baby hydrated is to use breast milk or formula until your pediatrician tells you otherwise.
Another cause for concern when giving your baby water is a bacterial infection . The bacteria and parasites can often be inside poorly treated drinking water. To avoid giving your child contaminated water, you will have to use a proper filtration system and make sure that the water you give him is weakly mineralized. You can also consider boiling water to destroy any bacteria or parasites. You just have to make sure to let it cool completely before giving it to your child.