Every mother is faced with the daunting question of when to first start feeding water to her infant?
The correct answer to this is an infant does not require water till the time he is 6 months old. His water requirement is completely fulfilled by the breast milk or formula milk he drinks. Milk (breast or formula) contains all the essential minerals, nutrients and fluids that the infant needs, so adding water in this diet can only cause harms instead of benefits.
Harms if you feed water before 6 months
There are number of problems which can arise if water is fed to infant before time;
- Contaminated Water can cause many water borne diseases like Diarrhea, Malaria, Cholera, Typhoid and many more. The infant can get very weak if infected by any of these.
- Water can fill the tummy of the baby very fast, leaving less or no room for milk (breast or Formula). This can reduce the appetite of the baby and devoid it of essential minerals and nutrients of the milk.
- Too much water can lead to “Water Intoxication”. In this condition as and when the baby excretes water from his body the essential amount of sodium too gets diluted and gets out of the system, upsetting the electrolyte balance of the body, leading to swelling of the tissues. If not treated in time the baby can go in coma because of this condition.
How & When to start water
As your infant reaches the age of 6 months you can slowly start feeding water once or twice a day one table spoon or two, each time. The water should be boiled properly and then cooled, later fill it in a clean and sterile jar. A sterile spoon can be used in the beginning for drinking water. Later sippers can also be used.
Don’t over feed the baby with water. The frequency of water should be slowly and gradually increased. Just check how the baby’s body reacts to water before increasing the quantity or frequency.