BREASTFED BABIES NEED WATER?
I successfully nursed my first child with no major upsets. I am
expecting my second child on or before June 3rd and plan on nursing
her also. My question is, I was told by a pediatric nurse that
breast fed babies need water -- about a cup a day. Is this true?
I never gave my son water, although he was infrequently supplemented
Hi Debbie, It sounds like your nurse needs a refresher course
in "Breastfeeding 101." Maybe she is more familiar with formula
fed babies than she is with breastfed. Many health care providers
and caregivers (especially grandmothers) who are used to formula
fed babies have a really hard time accepting the fact that a baby
can survive without supplemental water.
The fact is:
Breastfed babies do not need any supplemental water, but formula
fed babies often do. Formula fed babies may need water supplements
due to the renal solute load of formula (the higher salt level
is harder on their kidneys, and they may need extra water in order
to excrete it). Formula fed babies also have less efficient metabolisms
that breastfed babies, so they use up water faster. Breastmilk
is composed of 90% water, and that provides all that your nursing
baby needs, even in hot weather. Nursing babies that are thirsty
will regulate their own intake by feeding more often and taking
in enough of the watery foremilk to satisfy their thirst, but
not enough of the creamier hindmilk to overfeed. They are able
to regulate their own fluid intake, which is one more nice thing
feedings fill up your baby with empty calories, making him less
interested in nursing. Water supplements interfere with breastfeeding,
and can actually contribute to weight loss and elevated bilirubin
who is supplemented with water may actually develop higher bilirubin
levels, and tends to lose more weight than a baby who is not supplemented
with water. Water supplements in a newborn can also interfere
with the establishment of a mother's milk supply.
water to a newborn (under 5 weeks old) can actually be dangerous.
Too much water can dilute the sodium in the baby's bloodstream
to the point where "oral water intoxication" develops, and this
can lead to symptoms like low body temp, bloating, and seizures.
Mother Nature knows best. You don't need to give your breastfed
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