When Is The Best Time To Give Water To Your Newborn
Plain water has no role to play for the first 6 months of your newborn, says pediatrician Dr Gorika Bansal.
Breastmilk suffices for baby's nutrition and growth for the first 6 months
- Foremilk of breastmilk is 90% water: Pediatrician
- Babies who get water supplements become less interested in nursing
- Water does not have the nutrition and calories that breastmilk has
It can be quite confusing to know if is newborns should be fed water or not. Since breastmilk is 90% water, it is said that it is not entirely necessary to give water to newborns. Even on extremely hot days, babies needn't be given water since breastmilk alone is enough to keep them hydrated. Many researches have concluded that breastfeeding alone can provide the child with all essential fluids and nutrients. Up until 6 months, newborns can efficiently survive on breastmilk.
According to city-based paediatrician Dr Gorika Bansal, breastmilk or formula-based milk is enough for his/her nutrition and growth. "The initial part of breastmilk -foremilk is basically water. Hindmilk has the fat and foremilk is water which is meant to quench the thirst of the baby. That's why we say that mothers should breastfeed their baby with one side completely. If you do half and half from both sides, then the baby only gets foremilk and his/her weight gain will be much lesser," she says.
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"In the formula as well, we recommend adding boiled water to formula powder. Plain water has no role to play for the first 6 months of your newborn," adds Dr Gorika.
Giving water to newborns younger than 4-5 weeks can be risky for the following reasons:
1. It can lead to weight loss and increase chances of baby getting jaundice.
2. Giving water to newborns can lead to oral water intoxication.
3. Babies who get water supplements become less interested in nursing. This will prevent mother's milk to get into the baby and also make the mother produce lesser milk.Also read: World Prematurity Day: Expert Advice To Protect Your Newborn From Air Pollution
For babies past the newborn stage
1. Water does not have the nutrition and calories that breastmilk has.
2. You can give your baby a few sips of water once s/he is 4-6 months old.
3. Once the baby begins with eating solids, you can give him/her water to prevent constipation.
4. For babies older than 4-6 months, you can continue breastfeeding them along with giving them water in moderation.
(Dr Gorika Bansal is city-based Consultant Pediatrician)
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