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Water and Other Liquids in addition to Breast milk

Should the baby be given water in addition to breast milk

While the mother is exclusively breastfeeding her baby, there is no need for water even on a very hot day.   This is because the first part of the mother's milk is watery, precisely to help quench the baby's thirst.  If the baby starts quenching his thirst with water, he is likely to suckle less, and thereby reduce the mother's milk flow.  Frequent urination (at least 6 times in a 24 hour period) in an exclusively breastfed baby indicates that he is getting enough fluids from the mother.

Should water or other liquids be given on a very hot day

Even in hot climates, breast milk contains sufficient water for a young baby's needs.  Additional water or sugary drinks are not needed to quench the baby's thirst. Since gripe water may contain alcohol, it is not advisable.

When should water be introduced

In a breastfed baby, if the baby is passing urine at least 6-7 times in a 24-hour period, and the color of the urine is not yellow, then there is no need to start water.  This is true even if solids have been introduced in the baby's diet.  The reason for delaying the introduction of water is that many infections and diseases are spread through water.  However, as the baby starts having less and less of breast milk, water should be introduced.  Water should be boiled and cooled, and can be given in a small glass; bottle is not required at any age.

Is breast milk the only food on the menu for 4-6 month old babies

From birth up to the age of four to six months, breast milk provides all the nutrition that a baby requires. There is no substitute for mother's milk. Cow's milk, milk powder solutions and cereal gruels cannot approach the nutritional value of breast milk.  Some doctors tend to prescribe fruit juice or soup from the age of 6 weeks.  This is not desirable. In the first four months of life, foods other than breast milk may not be tolerated by the baby, and may even be harmful.

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