Do you know water can be harmful to your baby in the first 6months of life?

Giving water to young babies puts them at risk of diarrhoea and malnutrition.

Water may not be clean and may cause the baby to be infected. Giving water may also cause the baby to drink less breastmilk or stop breastfeeding early and

therefore, result to malnutrition. If mothers give water instead of breastfeeding, it will also cause the mother to produce less breast milk in the future.

Breast milk contains more than 80% water, especially the first milk that comes with each feed. Therefore, whenever the mother feels her baby is thirsty she can breastfeed him or her. This will satisfy the baby’s thirst, protect the baby from infections and help the baby to continue to grow well. Babies do not need water before they are 6 months old, even in a hot climate.

This is one of the reasons WHO recommends for children to be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. A child is considered exclusively breastfed when he or she receives only breast milk, without any additional food or liquid, even water, with the exception of oral rehydration solution, drops, syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.

When breastfeeding, the mother gives her baby all the water he or she needs, while providing “safe water” and protecting the baby against infections. Giving water to young babies puts them at risk of diarrhoea and malnutrition. Water may not be clean and may cause the baby to be infected. Giving water may also cause the baby to drink less breastmilk or stop breastfeeding early and therefore, result to malnutrition. If mothers give water instead of breastfeeding, it will also cause the mother to produce less breast milk in the future.

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