Every time the sun peaks out from the grey English skies I’m contacted by lots of concerned mums asking me if they should give their babies (under 6 months) supplements of water to keep them hydrated. The very simple and emphatic answer is NO!
Breastmilk is 88% water, which is more than enough to keep your baby hydrated even in the hottest of climates around the world. Research in temperatures of up to 41 degrees C and 96% humidity have still found this to be true.
Your baby will, however, likely feed more frequently than their normal pattern to help quench any thirst. This makes sense if we try to imagine ourselves going 3 or 4 hours without a drink on a hot day…
In fact, giving a breastfed baby additional water can have some serious negative consequences including malnutrition (displacing breastmilk with a fluid of little or no nutritional value can have a negative impact on an infant’s growth) or even oral water intoxication (a serious condition in which sodium levels become too diluted in the body).
So, relax, enjoy the sunshine and make sure to wear your most accessible breastfeeding top – your baby will be a frequent visitor to the bar while the sun’s out!