Should a Baby be offered Drinking Water?

Generally babies do not require extra water in their diet until they are weaned onto solid food.  The milk that they drink provides enough water for their requirements.  When they have started eating solid food, they need water in order to digest the food as they have been previously used to an all-liquid diet.  They may have bowel trouble without the aid of water. Too much water can be unhealthy for babies under twelve months but if a child is feeling sick or constipated then boiled water can help ease their suffering.

The only problem with a baby drinking water is that they may refuse it because they are so used to milk.  Like any food that is offered to a baby, they may refuse it at first because it is unfamiliar.  However, if they are used to the sight of the drinking water, the baby may then decide to try it out.

Milk is still the most important fluid that the child should be ingesting but the introduction of solid foods means that the need for milk decreases although the need for fluids increases.  Only a small amount of juice can be offered a day with a meal in order to keep the baby healthy so drinking water for the baby can be a good alternative.  Water is the best thirst quencher and a healthy option.

The Problems with a Baby Drinking Water

There can be some problems with a baby drinking water.  The most basic being the child getting so full on water, that they do not drink enough milk or eat enough solids.  It may be necessary to consult a nurse or doctor on the best quantities and proportions to give to a small child.  Too much water can lead to a bloated belly and sometimes belly aches.  The water should always be cooled previously boiled water for health reasons as boiling the water sterilizes and can keep harmful germs away from the baby.

A bigger problem could be high nitrate levels in the drinking water.  It can be risky for infants because it can cause a condition known as blue baby.  A baby’s stomach juices are less acidic than adults and may be susceptible to a growth of bacteria due to high levels of nitrate in the system.

Nitrate in the blood combines with hemoglobin and forms met hemoglobin which then reduces the ability of the blood to carry oxygen around the body and results in a blue tinge to the babies skin.  Boiling water with high nitrate levels can actually increase the amount of nitrate in the water and cause more harm to the baby.  Medical help should be sought immediately upon the appearance of the symptoms of this condition.