What Happens When Adding Water To Breast Milk?
It is believed that breast milk provides all the necessary nutrients to the baby, and thus presents no need to be diluted by adding water. Doing so, although might give it a nice texture but would result in these nutrients being diluted too which in turn can pose serious health risks.
Babies within the first 6 months of life will not require any water or other fluids, such as juice, besides their formula or breast milk, unless a pediatrician has given specific advice. Water has no nutritional value, and babies get all the nutrition they need from breast milk or formula during the early months. Infants who are exclusively breastfed do not need extra water–breastmilk is 88% water and provides all of the liquids that your baby needs. Exclusively breastfed babies also do not require extra water when it is extremely warm outside, provided the baby is allowed to nurse when needed.
Breastmilk contains an adequate amount of water, and babies fed exclusively breastmilk do not require additional water to quench their thirst or maintain hydration. The more frequently the woman nurses, the more breastmilk is produced, meaning that the babies have more water. When a baby drinks water, less space is left for the nurturing breastmilk needed to keep an infant growing strong and healthy.
Because breastmilk is lower in solutes, an infant does not need nearly as much water as an older child or an adult. Breastmilk provides plenty of fluids, so many older babies or toddlers who breastfeed with no restrictions are able to obtain needed fluids by breastfeeding. When it comes to older babies and toddlers, you may want to keep breastfeeding while offering some water in moderation. Breastfeeding mothers who decide against giving breastmilk to their babies may still be able to offer these benefits by giving them baby formula.
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If you are using formula because you are not producing enough milk for your baby, feed your baby first. Never add undiluted powdered baby formula or concentrated liquid formula directly into breast milk, nor ever substitute your own breast milk for water when mixing concentrated or powdered infant formula. If you add powdered formula or concentrated liquid formula directly into your breast milk before dilution with water, this changes the balance of nutrients and water both in your breast milk and standard infant formula.
|Age of the baby||Amount of water can be given to them|
|6 months old baby (When baby starts to eat solids).||Offer them 1-2 ounces of water in very small amounts.|
|Between 6-12 months.||Offer them more than 1-3 ounces at a time.|
Maintaining an appropriate water-to-formula ratio, then adding the breast milk separately, will make sure that the nutrition in powdered or concentrated formula is not altered. Adding powdered or concentrated liquid formula into your breastmilk bottle without mixing it first with the right amount of water means that your baby will not get the correct ratio of nutrients to water. As discussed above, the La Leche League advises against mixing breastmilk with formula, because if your baby does not finish a bottle, you end up losing part of your breastmilk, which is left over (since you cannot store all of your leftover milk in a babys bottle).
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Allowing your baby to finish any breastmilk that is available to them before offering any additional formula means if your baby gets fed enough before finishing the bottle, you are throwing away the formula instead of breastmilk. If your baby is used to drinking hot milk, either breast milk or from the bottle, then you will want to consider warming your babys bottles with a combination of breastmilk and formula. Depending on how your baby takes to the bottle, you may have to continue doing this until your baby is used to feeding via a bottle.
You might decide that the best thing is for you to give the pump-feeding your baby the breast milk first, then feed him or her whatever formula is needed to round out a feed. Some experts really recommend offering your baby water with a bottle of formula if the weather is really warm outside (you can still offer an additional feeding) or when your baby has a fever or is sick*.
When your baby starts eating solids, you may want to offer a couple ounces of water in between feedings, but do not push for it. Generally, you will want to offer 1 or 2 ounces of water in a small, open-mouthed cup that baby can manipulate with minimal help. Between 6-12 months, babies may be able to drink smaller amounts of water, but not more than 1-3 ounces at a time.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babys may begin being offered small amounts of water at about 6 months old, provided they are growing and gaining adequately, but before 12 months, water is not recommended. It might be difficult to believe that water could be hazardous for baby, but it is important to know that babies should not be drinking any water until they are six months old. You can use bottled water for making baby formula, but you should not use tap water as it contains chlorine and chemicals that could hurt your child.
Formula diluted with too much water, for instance, could lead to major health and developmental problems in your child. Dr. Mary Carol Burkhardt says water-diluted formula affects babys growth, and not getting enough nutrients may cause cognitive and neurological problems later on in life.
Adding too much water to a formula dilutes nutrients, and adding too little can strain a babys kidneys and digestive system, leading to dehydration. When added to breastmilk, water causes the components found in the milk to become diluted, and it can hinder overall digestion and absorption of these components within a babys body. Generally, water is not fed to babies until solid/babyfood is started — even then, it is given along with meals.
Even if the infant gets some water in a thick, yellowish first milk (colostrum), there is no need for extra water, as a newborn is born with an excess of water. For infants, the amount of water according to need or want may be given, but no more than that is necessary as a newborn does not need exactly the amount of their want or need. Children younger than 12 months of age do not necessarily need additional water, but practicing cup-feeding during this age is developmentally helpful and may help to get the child used to the taste of fluids other than breastmilk or formula.
When your 4-to-6-month-old is learning how to use a cup, giving them several sips of water a couple times per day (no more than 2 ounces in a 24-hour period) is okay and enjoyable. When your six-month-old starts eating solids, professional advice is you can offer him some small spoonfuls of expressed milk or water along with his solids to help prevent constipation. It is important that you do not mix your expressed breastmilk (EBM) with infant formula, water, or anything else.
Using even a tiny amount of water or other fluids fills an infants stomach and decreases a childs appetite for the nutritious breastmilk. Breastfeeding mothers who provide water to infants at feeding times can lower their babys risk for sudden infant death syndrome, SIDS. Pointing Out Risks of Water Giving babies water may be harmful and may lead to diarrhea and disease.
Do bottles have to be completely dry before pumping?
The bottles don’t need to be dried. Equipment that you won’t be using right away should be kept in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator. These containers should be washed daily in hot, soapy water and then rinsed in boiling water. Having at least two containers, you can switch between can be helpful.
What happens if a baby accidentally drinks water?
Giving babies too much water can cause their bodies to discharge sodium along with extra water because their kidneys aren’t yet fully developed, according to Anders. Early signs of water intoxication can include irritation, sleepiness, and other mental changes since losing salt can disrupt brain activity.