Should Babies Have Water?by Christine Wood, MD
Q. When should you give a baby water to drink? My nephew's pediatrician told him and his girlfriend not to give their one month old daughter water. Is this advice correct? And if so, why? Also, they were told to feed her only every four hours, no more, no less. However, the baby cries every 2 1/2 to 3 hours and they don't feed her according to the doctors instructions. They will wait until it has been exactly four hours before they feed her again and try to pacify her with a pacifier or by walking her in between. Shouldn't they feed her if she is hungry?
A.Water is usually introduced around three to four months of age in my practice. The reason is that we want them to get nutritional value with breastmilk or formula and these feedings contain 80% water, so there is no need for extra hydration. However, in the summer months, I will sometimes have the mom give a liitle water. As far as feeding a baby only every 4 hours, I personally do not agree with that. If the baby is breastfed, lactation consultants and experts use a "demand feeding" schedule, meaning nurse when the baby seem hungry. Babies vary in their appetite between each other and even within days of the week. If nursing, they can go through growth spurts when they are trying to bring in more of mother's milk and therefore, feed more often for a few days. If the baby is bottle-fed, they could try increasing the amount of milk they give, but even formula babies may need to eat every 3 hours at times. They can try other ways to comfort the baby, but if it doesn't work, I would try feeding. They should also check that the baby is gaining enough weight. If the baby is not, he is not getting enough milk.Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. You can visit her website at http://www.callyour
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