Hydrating Infants in Hot Weather

father feeding infant with bottleDuring the summer heat, it’s important to make sure your child stays properly hydrated! With that said, it’s even more important to know the best way to hydrate children, especially young babies.

Did you know that healthy infants who are breastfeeding or bottle feeding regularly DO NOT need to drink water? Breastmilk and infant formulas are actually more than or equal to 85% water. Giving water to babies less than 6 months old, even when it’s super hot out, can put them at risk for malnutrition and affect their growth. This is because they may drink less breastmilk or formula, which has all of their nutrition and hydration together.

This is one of the (many) reasons that the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of baby’s life. For breastfeeding moms, it can also reduce your milk supply if baby is breastfeeding less. If you feel that your infant (0-6 months old) is thirsty or needs more fluid, put baby to breast or offer a bottle of breastmilk or formula.

Solid foods are usually introduced between 4-6 months of age. Once your baby starts to eat more solid foods, their intake of formula or breastmilk may naturally decrease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to continue offering breast milk or formula as the preferred drink, and up to 4-6 oz water per day, for infants ages 6-12 months.

If you are concerned that your baby is not drinking enough, look for signs of dehydration, which can include fewer wet diapers, irritability, a sunken soft spot, or dry cool skin. If you notice any of these symptoms, or if you notice that your baby is excessively thirsty, contact your pediatrician.

Learn more about Connecticut Children’s Nutrition services

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