Water Intoxication in Babies

No parent should ever bury their child. Even worse, blamed and charged for the death of the child. Unfortunately, this is what has happened to a couple in Georgia. Either due to ignorance or plain stupidity, their 10-month-old baby died of starvation and water intoxication.

Water intoxication — two words I have never heard of until I was pregnant. The simple fact is, everyone needs water to stay alive. In fact, from what I have read, a large study shows that the adult human body averaged ~65% water (variation in body water percentage are based on many factors like age, health, weight, and sex). Plants needs water. Animals need water. Water is the giver of life. No doubt about it.

But, and this is a very big BUT …

But for babies under the age of one, no water should be given or kept to a minimum sip or two.

Early on after giving birth, I was advised to feed my son water if I was formula feeding as drinking formula milk will not be enough for his hydration. Giving him water earlier would instill good drinking habits when he is older I was told. Like any first-time mother happy to get tips from other mothers, I blindly followed the advice. Luckily, my milked kicked in at around the second week and I just breast-fed my baby on demand.

As a general rule, babies should not be given water until they reach the 6 months mark. Before that, babies get their water through breast milk and formula. However, it is best to wait until they are around a year old and is eating solid food and drinking milk before adding water to their diet.

Please note that when babies drink water, this hampers their ability to absorb nutrients found in breast milk or formula. This is because if they drink too much water, they would be full and cause them to drink less milk than they should to meet their nutritional needs.

Also, drinking too much water dilutes the sodium levels in their system. The result is an electrolyte imbalance that leads tissues to swell, which can lead to seizures, brain damage, or death.

You can read more about this heart-breaking news here:



Photo by Kornwa/Dreamstime.


Angel is a mother of one and works as a full time editor and writer. She writes on a wide variety of topics in a number of reputable publications.

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