As humans, we need water to survive but there is a time in a person’s life when drinking water is deadly; even as much as a few ounces is enough to kill.
As healthy adults, our bodies are made up of 55-60% of water unlike babies’ bodies that are made up of 75% water. That difference is why babies shouldn’t drink water before they’re at least 6 months old. Not from the tap, or a well, or a spring. Plain water is just plain off limits.
On top of that, their kidneys aren’t developed enough, yet, to properly filter water. So, any water that enters their body ends up in the circulatory system, where it dilutes their blood leading to water intoxication which will cause the sodium level in their blood to drop.
Families commonly ask during the summer months if their babies need extra water due to the heat. The answer is NO!
Some reasons babies don’t need water:
- Breast milk and formula is mostly water (80-90 percent). Babies don’t get thirsty. Their diet is primarily liquid.
- Water can fill up a baby’s tummy, which can make it difficult for them to absorb the right amount of nutrition they need from their breast milk or formula. Too much water in babies’ small bellies can fill them up and will spoil their appetite for the milk or formula they desperately need for healthy growth.
- If you use too much water in your formula mixture or in general, you risk giving your baby “water intoxication,” which can prove to be very dangerous. – Watering down formula unnecessarily can screw up a baby’s electrolyte balance. This imbalance can cause major complications like seizures.
Babies can safely start to drink some water after six months but they still don’t need a lot. They can get one to three ounces during their meals if parents want to introduce and practice with a sippy cup.