WHILE we all know the importance of staying hydrated, doctors have warned that giving babies water can be deadly.
NHS doctor and TikTok star Dr. Karan Raj used the social media app to dissuade parents and carers from committing the dangerous faux pas.
The surgeon stitched up a video of someone who had just found out that giving children water was an absolute no-no.
“If you have a tiny human or are about to give birth — or even know one — don’t give them water to drink until they’re six months old because it could be fatal,” said Dr. Raj to his 5.1 million TikTok followers.
He explained that newborn kidneys are about half the size – or smaller – of an adult’s and are not mature enough to properly filter regular water.
“This makes the baby vulnerable to water intoxication,” the doctor said.
Excess water you give your baby will flow back into his bloodstream and dilute the salt levels in his blood.
This is called hyponatremia, which means someone is low in sodium.
While this may not sound particularly alarming, hyponatremia can cause health complications in young babies.
“It can cause all sorts of havoc from brain swelling, seizures, and even death,” said Dr. Raj.
For this to happen in an adult, he would have to drink several liters of water in a short period of time.
“But it only takes a little bit for a baby,” the doctor continued.
“But don’t worry — all of their fluid needs can be met with breast milk or formula.”
The stomach capacity of babies under six months is also tiny, added Dr. Raj added.
“Their stomach emptying is slower, so they get full very quickly,” he explained.
If you allow a young child to drink water, they will be too full to drink milk, leading to energy and nutrient deficiencies.
NHS guidelines expanded the issue a bit further, advising parents not to give fully breastfed babies water until they are six months old and until they have started eating solid foods.
“This is because the composition of breast milk changes to meet the needs of the infant, including water, which is a component of breast milk,” wrote the NHS.
Breastfeeding mothers may find that their baby wants to be fed little and often when it gets hot – they were advised to drink more fluids than usual during hot weather.
As for formula-fed babies under six months, the NHS said parents should not routinely give them water.
However, in hot weather, they may need small amounts of extra water between feedings. You should never give them tap water as it is not sterile, has been warned
Instead, cook the waiter first and let it cool before giving it to your tot. Bottled water should also be avoided as it may contain too much salt or sulfate.
Once your baby is six months old and starts eating solid food, you can give him some water at mealtimes in a small baby cup or an open-handled cup.
It doesn’t have to be boiled.