Baby dies after drinking breastmilk mixed with water
A 10-week-old's unfortunate death raises question around the topic of breastmilk mixed with water. Should you give an exclusively breastfed infant water? What are the consequences if you do? Find out in this article.
Last March 2015, 10-week-old Nevaeh Marie Landell died of water intoxication after her parents repeatedly gave her breast milk mixed with water. Watering down the breast milk resulted in a drop in Nevaeh’s electrolyte and sodium levels which made her brain swell.
According to prosecutors, Herbert George Landell and Lauren Heather Fristed allegedly refused to give her medical treatment when she got sick, citing their religious beliefs. By the time they finally took their little girl to hospital, it was too late.
Landell has been charged with felony murder and aggravated battery by depriving. Fristed was charged with aggravated battery by depriving, first degree cruelty to children, and second degree cruelty to children. US news reports state that both are in jail without bond.
It is always tragic to hear of such stories, especially when it’s quite obvious that Nevaeh would still have been alive had her parents been more educated about looking after and feeding a young infant.
What are the rules when it comes to giving water to a breastfed baby under six months? Does a baby this young need breast milk and water? Or does breast milk provide adequate hydration?
Do breastfed babies need water?
Lactation experts from organizations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and La Leche League International (LLLI) agree that exclusively breastfed babies do not require additional water. This is because breast milk is made up of 88% water — especially the “fore milk” that comes with each feed — and therefore fulfils all your baby’s hydration needs.
Even colostrum, which is what your newborn baby will drink in the first few hours after birth, is all that is needed to keep your little one hydrated.
Click “Continue Reading” for crucial information on giving breast milk and water to your baby.
Why you shouldn’t give water to a breastfed baby below the age of six months
Expert advice from the World Health Organisation, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and KellyMom.com highlight the following facts about the risks of giving water to an exclusively breastfed baby under the age of six months:
- Giving water can interfere with the normal frequency of breastfeeding and can cause nipple confusion when the water is offered in a bottle.
- Giving a supplement such as water or glucose water to a newborn can put him at a high risk for increased bilirubin (which may cause jaundice) and a longer hospital stay.
- It can cause water intoxication, the signs of which include grogginess, confusion, drowsiness, twitching and seizures. Medical professionals say that drinking too much water especially in children under the age of one, may dilute a baby’s normal sodium levels and can lead to seizures, coma, brain damage and even death.
- Water contains empty calories, which means that supplementing your young infant with it will fill him up without adding calories. This can result in insufficient weight gain or even weight loss.
Should you give water to a breastfed baby during hot weather? Find out on the next page.
Giving water to babies: When is it okay?
Even when it is very hot outside, exclusively breastfed babies still do not need additional water. However, you may have to increase the frequency of nursing to ensure your little one stays well hydrated.
So, when is it okay to give my baby water?
When your six-month-old baby is learning how to use a cup, experts say it is fine to give him a few sips of water a few times a day, but no more than two ounces per 24 hours. Also, when your little one starts solids, the professional advice is that you may offer him a few sips of expressed milk or water with his solids in order to prevent constipation.
When it comes to older babies and toddlers, you can continue to breastfeed and offer water in moderation. If you continue breastfeeding beyond a year, keep in mind that it still provides much of your child’s hydration as he is allowed to nurse unrestricted.
Article originally published on: theAsianparent
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