Water poisoning and lack of nutrition... no newborn water!

Well, first of all, you shouldn't have to give your newborn babies water. They get all the hydration their lil bodies should need from breast milk or formula, same with their nutrition. One reason you shouldn't give your newborn babies water is because it is void of nutrition... if their lil tummy is full of water, they may not want a feeding, sacrificing nutrients their growing body needs. It's the same concept as the diet plans that tell you to drink a whole glass of water before every meal and snack. For you, as an adult, it helps hydrate you and flush out toxins, but it also fills you up so you eat less. Babies shouldn't have a bunch of toxins and should be plenty hydrated, and, of course, should be eating as much as they needd to grow big and strong.

But, the reason you shoulldn't give your newborn babies water is because it can actually be quite dangerous! Babies can easily get dilutional hyponatremia aka water intoxication aka water poisoning. Believe it or not, you can get this too! Water is toxic when you consume too much, just like everything else.

When a baby consumes too much water, which is a very teeny amount for a newborn baby, their underdeveloped kidneys will pass electrolytes ie sodium/salt right along with the water. Your body, of course, needs sodium. When baby doesn't have enough sodium, it affects his brain. He may get confused, irritated, sleepy, and may even seize. His body temperature may drop too and he mayget puffy in the face. This is not even just with straight water... Overly diluted baby formula can do just the same thing. So water is a no-go for babies, but especially ones under 6 months.

While we're on the subject of water intoxication, we might as well cover the symptoms to look out for in you too. While you're much better able to control your sodium levels than babies and your kidneys are fully developed, you don't have nearly as much to worry about. However, if you consume water excessively, you should probably know. It's pretty prevalent among marathon runners, according to Wikipedia.

It says “Marathon runners are susceptible to water intoxication if they drink too much while running. This is caused when sodium levels drop below 135 mmol/L when athletes consume large amounts of fluid. This has been noted to be the result of the encouragement of excessive fluid replacement by various guidelines. This has largely been identified in marathon runners as a dilutional hyponatremia.[5]A study conducted on participants of the 2002 Boston marathon found that thirteen percent finished the race with hyponatremia. The study concluded that the strongest predictor of hyponatremia was weight gain while racing (over-hydration), and hyponatremia was just as likely to occur in runners who chose sports drinks as those who chose water. [6]Medical personnel at marathon events are trained to suspect water intoxication immediately when runners collapse or show signs of confusion.”

13 percent!

But, all the symptoms that apply to baby apply to you too... others include headaches, muscle twitches, pain, nausea, continued thirst, muscle cramps, etc. If it continues too long, you can get swollen brain cells which can cause seizures, coma, and death. Most of these signs aren't much to worry about, but together and if you're consuming lots of fluids, keep it in mind!

Do you know other reasons to not give water to your newborn babies?

Do you know what age it is okay to give them water and how much, especially for treating things like constipation, etc?

Fill me in, super mamas!

Moms Expertise
    Excellent post! I didn't know that babies could get water poisoning from having diluted formula. I would probably be one of those moms who would try to cut corners and leave out the extra scoop of formula because I ran out of formula not thinking I'd have to also adjust the volume of water. It's scary to think how laziness and thoughtlessness can affect a newborn's health.
    About Cassaundra Owens
    Birth: February 13
    On Moms.com since: Oct 11, 2013
    I'm a little strange, pretty green, and learning to live life as a wife, future mother, and entrepreneur. Right now, my husband and I are trying for our first after 3.5 years of infertility and 2 losses. Viva la adventure! Join me too at MortalMommy.com!