The Importance of Drinking Water in Babies
“Water is essential for the healthy growth and development of babies. It helps to regulate body temperature, transport nutrients, and flush out waste. It’s important to ensure that your baby stays hydrated, especially during hot weather or when they are sick. Learn more about the benefits of water for babies and how to safely incorporate it into their diet. From offering a sippy cup to adding pureed fruits and vegetables with a high water content to their meals, there are many ways to help your little one stay hydrated and healthy.”
When Should Babies Start Drinking Water?
Scientific studies have shown that breast milk contains enough water even in hot and dry climates and meets the water needs of the baby.
Breast milk meets all the water needs of the baby in the first 6 months.
As a result, providing water from outside is completely unnecessary. In addition, even if the water is boiled, it is an important risk factor for the baby to have diarrhea. Therefore, it is not recommended to give water or sugary drinks for the first 6 months to quench the baby’s thirst.
87% of breast milk is water and meets all the needs of the baby in the first 6 months.
Should Babies Who Don’t Take Breastmilk Be Given Water?
Artificially fed healthy babies (the type of feeding applied when the baby cannot receive breast milk) do not need to be given external water. Because the foods given to babies contain a large amount of water when prepared properly, and this meets the child’s water needs.
Attention! If water is given in addition to formula or breast milk, the child’s sense of thirst will decrease, so he will take less formula or breast milk, which will lead to an insufficient calorie intake.
However, in cases of excessive water loss in very hot weather or in cases where there are diseases that cause extra water loss, such as diarrhea and vomiting, additional water may be required upon the recommendation of the doctor.
Another mistaken practice at this point is for mothers to make the formula more concentrated in the mistaken belief that their child will be fed better. In this case, as the osmolar load on the kidneys increases, the baby loses too much water in the urine in order to remove the solute load!
Therefore, while preparing the food, it should be learned how much water to add to how many measures of food, and the food should be prepared accordingly.
How to Tell if Baby is Thirsty?
Babies’ ways of expressing their needs differ according to age groups. Young babies express their distress by crying when they are hungry, thirsty, or when their diapers are soiled.
Older babies, on the other hand, can show these needs by pointing or making different sounds when they see water.
In general, signs that a baby is dehydrated include:
- feeling thirsty
- increased body temperature
- Dryness of the skin, mouth and tongue
- Reduction in skin tension
- Decreased blood supply to organs
- weight loss
- Decreased urine output
- restlessness and fatigue
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
- Consciousness changes.
The presence and severity of these symptoms vary depending on the degree of dehydration in the body.
Should water be given with meals?
In general, it is important to ensure that children get the amount of fluid they need during the day. It is not necessary to take this liquid with meals.
The stomach needs water to digest food, but even if we do not take water with meals, it can use the water in the body for this purpose. In addition, the food we eat contains a large amount of water.
90% of vegetables and fruits consist of water. Therefore, drinking water before or after meals for adults is a matter of personal preference. The important thing here is that giving water before the meal will cause the stomach to fill up and insufficient intake of calorie-providing foods, especially in young children.
Therefore, although the amount and time of the liquids to be given vary according to the age of the child, it would be more appropriate to give water during or at the end of the meal.
What is the Amount of Water Babies Need to Take per Day?
One of the essential nutrients is liquid. Fluid intake is necessary to meet losses through growth, skin, respiratory system, urine and stool, and to regulate body temperature.
At birth, 75% of body’s weight is fluid, and this ratio gradually decreases to 40%. While the daily fluid change in adults is 6%, it is 25% in infants.
Therefore, infants are more sensitive to restriction of fluid intake. Children’s daily fluid requirements are calculated based on their body surface, which is 1500 ml per square meter of surface area.
The daily fluid requirement of a newborn baby is about 375 ml.
The average fluid requirement of a 1-year-old child is about 750 ml.
As the age and weight increase, the daily fluid requirement will increase with age, as the surface area will increase.
How Should You Give Water to Your Baby?
Care must be taken to ensure that the water used while preparing food or drinking water is clean. The water to be given to small babies should be boiled for at least 10 minutes and given to the child after it is cooled.
Since the mineral content of the water that is boiled more than necessary will change , the water given in this way may also cause negative effects. As a result, care should be taken to ensure that the water we give to children of all ages is clean, and small babies should be treated more sensitively in this regard.
What should the characteristics of the water you give to your baby be?
The most important point we should pay attention to before giving water to our baby is the sodium content of the water. Babies’ kidneys cannot tolerate high sodium levels, so it is best to choose baby water with low sodium content .
In addition to being low in sodium, high in calcium will contribute to the development of your baby’s bone health.
Another criterion you should pay attention to is the pH value, which shows the alkalinity of the water. The alkaline value of the water that babies will drink should be in the range of 7.5–8.5. Alkaline water with a high pH value contains many natural minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Alkaline water supports your baby’s bone development and metabolic regulation.