What Can Happen to Babies When Given Water Below 6 Months Old?

Sep 16 17:18 2021 Isabella Whitmore US Print This Article

The guidelines of frequently drinking water to stay healthy and hydrated do not apply on babies.  In fact, drinking water can be harmful for them. This leads to an important question. Why shouldn’t infants below 6 months old drink water?

Infants’ bodies are highly sensitive. They cannot take food and liquids the same way as adults. Their organs and systems are still developing. Extra care must be secured when introducing something to them. Regardless if it’s an external application such as soaps,Guest Posting lotions, creams, and oils. Or internally consumed like juices, foods, or even water.

Water should not be introduced until babies are six months old. The same time as solid foods. This is because their tummies are too tiny to accommodate any food or liquids other than breastmilk or formula milk. Giving water to them at a very young age can interfere with their absorption of essential nutrients. Which they need for healthy growth and development. Water at this age is useless in the body. Hence, it is better to fill infants’ small bellies with breastmilk or formula milk that contains their bodies require nutrients.

Offering water to babies can only spoil their appetite by making them feel full. This can result in malnutrition. A condition that can affect infants’ growth and development which they may carry into adulthood. Such as: learning problems, weak immune systems, small stature, and poor physical capabilities.

Aside from malnutrition, giving water to babies below 6 months can cause water intoxication. Or having too much water in the body. This dangerous condition may be rare in adults as a person should drink gallons of water at once for this to occur. But water intoxication can easily happen to infants. Since their young kidneys are small and not yet developed enough to excrete water as fast as adults.

When water intoxication happens, the excess water in the kidneys goes to the bloodstream. Diluting the body’s electrolytes such as potassium, chloride, and sodium. Causing an electrolyte imbalance which affects the function of cells and body organs. This can result to vomiting, lethargy, irregular heart rate, convulsions, and seizures.  

If electrolyte imbalance continues, the condition can develop into hyponatremia. Which occurs when the body’s sodium level is low. This can be life-threatening as cells will try to return the sodium level to normal by absorbing the excess water in the body. Causing the cells to swell like balloons. The bulging cells will then go up to the brain which can lead to brain damage or worse.

It is also important to note that water intoxication can also happen during swimming. Nowadays, many parents enroll babies as young as 6 months old on swimming lessons. The activity can cause infants to swallow lots of water in the pool. Although they can now drink water at this age, it is still critical to offer them just enough of the liquid. Approximately 2 to 4 ounces from 6 to 9 months old is sufficient. Then up to 8 ounces of water for 9 to 12 months old.

Remember to be patient when introducing water to babies and make sure not to force them. Offer small amount of water on a spoon or in a sippy cup multiple times a day. If they don’t drink, try again later. Until they get use of its taste and texture.

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Isabella Whitmore US
Isabella Whitmore US

Isabella Whitmore enjoys reading and writing about health, fitness, and family. She writes for https://electrickettlesplus.com, an appliance website that offers a wide selection of electric kettles. Including BPA-Free Kettles which are safe for babies.

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