Ways For Your Baby To Drink Water More Healthily
Xiumin WANG, Pediatrician, Endocrinologist, Hematologist
World Water Day is March 22.
Water is the source of life.
Drinking water seems too minor a concern to be mentioned, but plays an important role in everyone’s growth. It’s closely linked with one’s health through babyhood, childhood, puberty, and even adulthood.
Today we will provide some tips on how your baby can drink water correctly.
No water intake is necessary for babies less than 6 months old
First of all, parents should have know that babies less than 6 months old need no other liquids such as water and fruit juice. Breast milk or formula milk is sufficient. As water makes up more than 90% of breast milk, breast milk alone will provide sufficient water for your baby. Regarding mixed and artificial feeding, formula milk contains more than 85% water. It will be all right as long as parents dilute milk powder according to the instructions and guarantee sufficient milk.
How much water should babies older than 6 months drink?
- 7-12 months old – 900ml of water per day. Approximately 60% of water comes from breast milk, with the remaining amount supplied by supplementary food and water intake.
- 1-2 years old – daily water intake of 1.3 liters. 37% of water comes from breast milk, with the remaining amount supplied by supplementary food and water intake.
- The amount of water kids aged 3 and above need every day should be based on their physical condition such as height, weight, and gender.
Water intake depends on the weight of your baby. It’s not good for a baby to drink too much water. Babies have small stomachs. If its filled with too much water, there’s no room left for milk, thus reducing its milk consumption and can even result in an electrolyte imbalance. In severe cases, there may possibly even be a risk of water intoxication.
Symptoms of dehydration
- Small infants wets less than 6 diapers in 24 hours or wets none within 6 hours. Urine is a deep yellow and has a strong smell.
- Fontanels (soft spot on the top of a baby’s head) sink
- Small infant has dry lips, and older babies will tell you they are thirsty.
- Skin becomes less elastic. Try softly piching opisthenar skin of your baby by your thumb and index finger, and then release it quickly to see the course of how the skin restores.
- Without enough water, both infants and young kids may show symptoms of constipation, pale yellow urine and dry lips. Even worse, their immunity may decline and attention may be difficult to be concentrated.
It may occur to you that your baby needs water supplement when your baby has those symptoms, but its health has been subjected to damage for water balance in baby has already been upset and cells begin to dehydrate. So, it’s right to feed your baby to water as to meet its physiological needs before the appearance of hydropenia symptoms.
What should baby drink in case of hydropenia?
- Water refers to direct drinking water or cooling boiled water, especially for little infant. It’s believed that boiled water that cools to room temperature is most beneficial to health, because the boiled water resembles intracellular water very much after losing about a half of odor. It will be absorbed by human body and penetrate the cell membrane easily, and improve metabolism.
Cold boiled water left behind for a long time or poured repetitively is vulnerable to bacterial pollution. So, boiled water that cools for less than 4-6 hours is preferable. In cold seasons, parents should watch out for the temperature of water to be consumed by baby. Water temperature is generally limited to approximately 37℃, subject to baby’s mouth feel primarily. Mom may drip some water on the back of her hand to feel the temperature. There will be no question for her baby to drink if mom doesn’t feel hot to her hand. Warm water not only serves as a source of water supplement, but also protects your baby against cold.
Can juice and other soft drinks replace water?
Children today don’t like plain water because of various kinds of beverages around them. Some parents know that fizzy drinks like Coke and Sprite are not proper for kids, but they think juice is OK because drinking juice means more vitamin intake. However, most of juice in the market contains added sugar and edible essence. Even fresh juice also has the problems of damaged cellulose and increased Glycemic Index. So drinking too much juice will lead to excessive sugar intake.
Juice can provide some vitamin for kids, but eating whole fruit is absolutely more healthier. If you want to drink juice, please choose fresh juice and don’t drink too much. Water is something irreplaceable for our body.