You may often hear that babies who are still exclusive breastfeeding should not be given water. You may also have asked why like that even though the water is actually an adult must drink. ASI also contains water, but the provision of just plain water for babies exclusively breastfed can make babies say no exclusive breastfeeding. Yes, giving water for babies exclusive breastfeeding is not allowed. Why?
Why can't babies drink water?
Maybe this is trivial to you. Only water, but why can't babies under 6 months get it? Apparently, giving water to babies can cause health problems. Yes, babies who get water at an early age can cause babies to experience diarrhea and malnutrition. Impressed a small thing, but the impact can be big for baby's health.
The water given to the baby may not be clean and may contain bacteria that causes the baby to get an infection. The body of a baby under the age of 6 months does not have a strong immune system to fight infection, so babies are more susceptible to infectious diseases, such as diarrhea.
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Giving water to babies aged less than 6 months can interfere with the ability of the baby's body to absorb nutrients from breast milk. Giving water to the baby can also make the baby full, so he does not want to suckle again. This makes babies exclusively breastfed receive less milk or even make babies stop breastfeeding. This is why babies who are given water can experience malnutrition.
If babies suckle less often and are given more water, of course the production of mother's milk can also be less. How often the baby suckles is very much related to how much the mother's body can produce milk. This is like a cycle that affects each other.
This may be a rare case, but too much water entering the baby's body can cause the baby to experience water poisoning, which can then cause seizures and even coma. Water poisoning occurs when too much water in the baby's body decreases the sodium concentration in the body. This causes disruption of the electrolyte balance in the body and can cause tissue in the body to swell.
Babies under the age of 6 months actually don't need water. Don't worry the baby will become dehydrated if not given water. The milk that the baby receives actually contains more than 80% water. So, by breastfeeding, the baby is getting enough fluids. Breastfeeding can satisfy the baby's thirst, also protect the baby from infection because breast milk contains antibodies that the baby needs. In addition, of course breast milk contains many nutrients needed for baby's growth and development. This is also the reason why the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby's life.
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When can babies start drinking water?
When the baby's age is rather large, around the age of 4-6 months and you have started to introduce it with solid food, you can give a few tablespoons of water several times a day. Preferably, no more than 60 ml or about 4 tablespoons a day.
Some babies may also need water at this age to prevent or treat constipation. But also not too much, try only 60 ml in a day and continue to feed the baby with breast milk. Baby breastfeeding can also help prevent or treat constipation because breast milk also contains fluids.
For older babies, they have reached the age of 1 year, you can give them regular drinking water. Babies also need to drink water after eating solid food. Give baby water after eating using a small cup or glass, you don't need to give it to the bottle. You can also continue breastfeeding the baby at this time because the baby still needs nutrients and antibodies contained in breast milk. Continue to breastfeed the baby and offer the baby enough water. Let the baby choose to drink water now or later. At an older age, the baby can choose what he needs.
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