Water is a precious and necessary fluid for adults, but it may be hazardous for babies younger than six months old. According to pediatricians, giving water to infants before their kidneys develop enough to handle it can be dangerous and may lead to brain damage, seizures, coma, or even death. Breast milk and formula already contain enough water, and additional water intake is both unnecessary and unsafe.
Dr. Steven Halm, a pediatrician and dean of Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Other options include a combination of breast milk and formula or formula alone, but never water alone. Dr. Hailey Nelson, a pediatrician at Valley Children’s Healthcare in California, warns that giving water to infants can throw off their electrolytes and cause water intoxication, which may lead to seizures, brain swelling, and death.
While it may be tempting to dilute baby formula to make it last longer, doing so is a mistake that may harm the baby. The amount of water that would cause complications for a newborn varies by factors such as the child’s age and kidney function. Therefore, parents should resist the urge to give their baby water, even on hot days or when the child is sick.
The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life, and water should only be given to infants over six months old. Giving water to babies before they are six months old is not recommended, and parents should avoid resorting to diluting baby formula.
In conclusion, water is not suitable for babies before six months of age. As parents, it’s essential to understand the risks of giving water to infants, and the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding for the first six months. Let us keep our babies safe by adhering to the guidance of pediatricians, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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