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Can Newborns Drink Water?

By Shannon Snyder

Newborn babies do not typically drink water. Giving water to a newborn can disrupt their feeding or even cause serious health consequences according to an article written by pediatrician Stephen R. Daniels on BabyCenter. Your baby will get all the hydration he needs from the feedings you give him.

Warning

Giving your newborn water, puts her at risk for water intoxication. According to Dr. Daniels, too much water can cause water intoxication which can cause seizures or a coma. Water intoxication occurs when the blood becomes diluted and the electrolyte level goes out of balance.

Nutrition

Providing your newborn with water can impact his appetite. A newborn has a small stomach and filling it with water can decrease the amount of formula or breast milk he eats. Dr. Daniels also points out that water can lessen your baby's ability to absorb nutrients from his food.

Glade Curtis and Judith Schuler, authors of "Your Baby's First Year: Week by Week," remind parents that mixing infant formula according to the directions is important. Diluting it with water decreases the nutritional value and can put your baby at risk for water intoxication.

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Considerations

As a parent of a newborn, you may be concerned about your baby's hydration during hot weather or if she is ill. In hot weather, Curtis and Schuler recommend increasing the amount of breast milk or formula that you give to your baby.

A baby who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea may benefit from an electrolyte drink, according to Dr. Daniels. Your baby's doctor can advise you on whether to use an electrolyte drink.

Time Frame

Glade and Schuler recommend holding off on offering water to your baby until he begins solid foods. They suggest 1 to 4 oz. each day, but checking with your baby's doctor for their personalized recommendation is an optimal approach.

At 1 year, Dr. Daniels states it is acceptable to allow your baby as much water as he would like. By this time, your baby is eating solid foods and starting whole milk.

Exceptions

In some cases, such as when your baby is constipated, her doctor may suggest a small amount of water or juice--1 to 2 oz.--to ease the situation, according to Linda Murray, et. al. in "The Babycenter Essential Guide to your Baby's First Year."

Always follow your pediatrician's recommendation when it comes to providing your newborn with water.

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