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How Much Water For Baby?


While drinking more water is a good idea for everyone,especially during hot summer months, too much water can beharmful to infants 6 months old and younger. According to astudy in Clinicians Reviews a 1997 survey of new mothersfound that nearly 25 percent give their babies water atleast 3 times per week in the first month of life.

Water intoxication is rare in children and adults who areable to judge their own water needs by thirst and activity.But babies are not able to do this. Also, the kidneys ofnewborns filter more slowly than those of older infants,causing sodium levels in the blood to be diluted.

According to doctors, 24 cases of water intoxication werereported at the St. Louis Children's Hospital in the years1989 to 1991. The problem seems to be increasing since only10 cases were reported from 1985 to 1988. In the casesreported the otherwise healthy babies were 4 to 5 months oldand drank three 8-oz. bottles of water within 6 to 12 hours.

Symptoms of water intoxication include pale urine, usingmore than 8 diapers a day, and baby sleeping more than usualand being difficult to wake up.

Mothers should be advised that healthy infants get all thewater they need in breast milk or formula.

A baby can get water intoxication as a result of drinkingseveral bottles of water a day or from drinking infantformula that has been diluted too much.

Water fills baby without adding calories, so watersupplementation can result in weight loss or insufficientweight gain for the baby.

Pediatricians advise feeding babies 2 to 3 oz. more thantheir age in months at each feeding. For example, babies 4months old would be fed 6 to 7 oz. three times a day. Morethan 8 oz. at any one feeding rarely necessary. The usualproportions of milk to water should be about two-thirds milkto one-third water. With these proportions, the babyreceives about 8 oz of water equally spaced over a 24 hourperiod. If the formula is diluted, mild should not be lessthan 50 percent.

Only around seven months of age, when baby has startedeating solid foods, should a little water be introduced in acup.

Water intoxication can be prevented by following yourphysicians instructions.

For more information on water and it's healthy benefits forold and young alike: http://www.apluswriting.net/health/babywater.htm

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Author: Marilyn Pokorney
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