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Keeping Infants Hydrated

by T Akery | October 30th, 2013 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

baby n bottleWhile a newborn gets most of its hydration through the breast or through bottle feedings, an infant older than six months requires some water intake. This is because their diets have shifted from pure liquid to more solid foods. Thus, providing them with water to stay hydrated is an important part of their care. Like adults, infants can become dehydrated. But the health consequences of dehydration for an infant can be much more severe than in adults. While they don’t need to drink eight glasses a day as that can lead to water intoxication, getting them started when after they transition to solid foods will help you in the future.

Introducing water can be done through the bottle or through the cup. Water should be given alongside solid meals at first to introduce it slowly. You don’t want the water to replace the nutrients they are getting from food if you are still feeding your infant formula out of the bottle for some meals. Those meals do not need the additional water. If your infant is on a special diet, consult your pediatrician in regards to the introduction of water.

If you are still breastfeeding after six months, then your infant will still get adequate hydration from the breast milk. But introducing water along side the solid meals will help with the transition later on. Gradually, your infant will need more water as the number of breastfeedings is reduced.

Be aware that in hot or dry conditions, your infant may require more water. You can certainly give them more water on these days. But be careful not to overdo it. You want to provide water in addition to a means of helping them cool down. Watch for signs of dehydration such as diapers that don’t need to be changed for a long period of time or an unusual color of urine.

Only give electrolyte solutions if it is recommend by your pediatrician to do so. You also want to avoid using juice as a means of hydration because of the additional sugars.

Infants can easily become dehydrated for a number of reasons such as being sick or becoming too hot. Keeping them hydrated during this time is important for their health. If you have any issues with them drinking, then consult your pediatrician immediately.

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