This question and topic is widely discussed right now after a high-profile story in Georgia. So does my baby need water?
The simple answer is no. “Breast milk is 90 percent water and is the perfect balance for baby’s kidneys and livers to process, to hydrate babies and promote excellent brain growth,” says Robin Hollen, RN, IBCLC, Renown Health. “Never dilute breast milk.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months of life. They suggest solid foods should start around the six month mark.
Doctors say mixing extra water into formula or diluting breast milk reduces the amount of critical nutrients a baby receives in each serving. Giving an infant too much water can lead to water intoxication, which can cause an infant’s sodium and electrolyte levels to plummet and can result in serious medical problems, like brain damage, seizures and death.
Studies show that formula or milk stretching is more common than you may think. Pediatricians say sometimes it’s about saving money, other times it’s to make a mother’s breast milk last longer.
Resources to assist in breastfeeding are available at The Lactation Connection. Robin or another board-certified lactation consultant or lactation liaison can answer your questions and provide you with the resources you need. Visit renown.org/thelactationconnection or call 775-982-5210.