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Can Infants Drink Electrolyte Water?

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

You don't want to put your sports drink in your baby's bottle, but there are electrolyte drinks specially designed to fit an infant's needs. These types of electrolyte drinks are usually recommended when your infant is at risk of dehydration due to a condition such as diarrhea. Consult your baby's pediatrician before offering an electrolyte drink.

Infant Electrolyte Water

Infant electrolyte water contains nutrients that help aid in rehydration, including fluid, sodium, potassium, chloride and zinc. These drinks also contain sugar, which not only helps improve taste and acceptance, but also serves as a source of calories. Infant electrolyte replacement drinks are designed to fit the needs of an infant. While adult sports drinks are also a source of electrolytes, they do not contain the appropriate mix of electrolytes to meet your infant's needs.

Electrolyte Drinks for Infants

Electrolyte drinks are recommended to help manage fluid losses caused by diarrhea or vomiting. You should only give your infant an electrolyte replacement drink under the direction of your pediatrician. HealthyChildren.org says breast-fed babies may continue to nurse when experiencing diarrhea without the need for additional supplementation from an electrolyte drink.

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Amount and Use

The amount of electrolyte water your infant needs to drink depends on weight, and you should consult a doctor to get a personalized dosage recommendation. Electrolyte waters for infants are usually only needed for a short period of time, 12 hours to 24 hours, according to HealthyChildren.org. Once the diarrhea has lessened, you can reintroduce your infant's usual foods as directed by your pediatrician.

Other Considerations

Electrolyte waters designed for infants are considered safe, and there are no known side effects. However, if your infant is allergic to any of the ingredients or has an intestinal blockage, you should not use the drink. Also, if your infant's symptoms last longer than 24 hours or include a fever, bloody stools or vomit, refusal to eat or drink, rash or jaundice, you should contact your pediatrician immediately for guidance and care.

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