Does my baby need extra fluids?

Does my baby need extra fluids? - Transcript

If you are breastfeeding your baby, you might be really surprised to know that you don’t need to offer extra water and the truth behind this is because, breast milk provides not only the nutrition that your baby needs, but also all of the hydration as well. Even in the first couple of days after the birth when your body is producing colostrum, which is really low volume milk, it is packed full of nutrients but it is also still able to provide all the hydration that your baby needs as long as he is feeding well and regularly.

It’s also really interesting to know that even in hot weather your baby won’t need to be given extra water and he will feed more frequently and get all the fluids that he needs. And studies have shown that even in temperatures up to 41 degrees, your baby will not need extra fluids. So if you go to a hot land as well, to travel for holiday, your baby only needs to be feeding at the breast.

So it’s really good to know that your baby is really skilled at being able to regulate his intake at the breast and get all the hydration that he needs.

And remember, in the early days and weeks, extra water given to your baby can actually cause your baby to, not to want to feed at the breast so much and therefore, your body won’t make as much milk as your baby needs. Therefore, your baby can potentially get less milk than he needs. Some babies have actually lost weight because of that, so it’s important just to allow your baby to feed at the breast and get all the nutrients and all the hydration that he needs.

Once you have started solids, it’s around about the six months mark, your baby can have an open lidded cup and you can offer expressed milk or sips of water but it’s not totally necessary as long as you are offering the breast, whenever your baby wants alongside those solids.

For older babies and toddlers, continue to offer breast milk and water in moderation and remember that your breast milk still provides plenty of fluids, so if your baby is feeding without restriction, then he is still likely to be getting all the hydration he needs without any extra fluids.

So to sum up, if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you do not need to be offering extra fluids and as the year goes on, there is some flexibility.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

V1 published June 2017. Next review date: April 2020


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