Babies under six months should not have any water at all – one single sip could be harmful
Keeping hydrated in the heat is important.
As adults, it's easy to forget sometimes to drink enough fluids when the weather starts to heat up. Water, of course, is the best way to stay cool and hydrated, and as parents, we are also constantly trying to make sure our little ones are drinking enough.
But did you know that babies who are younger than six months old should never be given water to drink? Not even when it's really, really hot out.
With the UK currently experiencing a heatwave, experts have warned that, for very young babies, drinking water isn’t just counterproductive – in some cases it could be fatal. In fact, for babies under six months, even just one sip could upset the natural balance of their little bodies.
When really young, babies have a higher proportion of water in their bodies.
Pharmacist at Chemist Click, Abbas Kanani, explains to Yahoo:
"Kidneys are also too immature in infants under six months, and water can cause intoxication as a result of an imbalance in electrolytes such as sodium."
This, according to Kanani, can cause hyponatraemia, which is where too much water has diluted the sodium levels of the body.
‘This can cause complications such as swelling of the brain, seizures and, in extreme cases, death.’ Not only this, babies get their nutrients from breast milk or formula, and because their stomachs are so tiny, filling up on water could affect how they absorb these nutrients in the short-term."
The pharmacist is keen to point out that if you’re using water to make formula, that’s not a problem (as long as it’s safe and clean water).
"Just don’t use more than called for in the instructions. And if you’re worried about babies becoming dehydrated in the heat, be sure to feed them more milk if they want or need it."
When your baby reaches six months, you can start introducing water slowly, but always make sure it is just sips at a time and never use it as a replacement for milk.