Here in the PNW, we have been catching glimpses of summer – with (finally!) warm temps and beautiful sunny days! With the warmer temps parents often wonder if baby needs extra water to stay hydrated. The short answer is no. Breastmilk will keep your baby hydrated. Breastmilk is 88% water! Breastmilk is designed to meet baby’s nutritional requirements for both hunger *AND* thirst. Sometimes babies want to feed, not because they are hungry, but because they are thirsty. Allowing baby unlimited access to feeds will ensure he or she is getting adequate amount of milk to quench his or her thirst.
Prior to 2 months of age, giving water to baby can put baby at risk for filling up on water (which is void of nutrients) instead of your nutrient dense breastmilk. It could cause baby to be less interested in feeding and negatively affect weight gain. If baby is even younger, less than 5 weeks, offering water can actually be dangerous by diluting sodium levels in baby which can lead to seizures or brain damage.
If your baby is 6 months old and has started eating solid foods, sometimes parents will give a small amount of water to baby with solids. This amount should be minimal (2oz or less in 24 hours) and is more for practice drinking from a cup (it does not need to be in a bottle!). Or, even better, if you have expressed milk, you can put some of your milk in a cup for baby to drink. If baby is having slow weight gain, I would omit the water altogether and use expressed milk in a cup.
Another option for providing a water source for baby which also has nutrients is to offer some fruit, again, if baby is at least 6 months old. Cold fruit is a great summer snack and most fruits are primarily water. Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches are all great choices! That said, again just keep in mind that water requirements for babies 6 months old and older can still predominantly be met with breastmilk :)
Just Carrie wanting a space to write about being a mom to 2, boob nerd, military wife, and food enthusiast. But mainly a place to talk about boobs and babies!