Breast Milk AND Water?? O_o

Rita M. - posted on 11/12/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I had never really thought that a 1 month old baby would need to drink anything else other than my breast milk, but the other day my Boyfriends grandad asked if I give her water, and I said no, and he said "what? why? Milk is her food, she needs water also to drink! Give her water coz I'm sure you don't know when she's thirsty and not hungry"
everytime she gets fussy I put her to the breast, I dont believe that everytime I feed her it needs to last minimum 15 mins, especially now that after 10 mins of eating she gets heavy gass and spits up the last of the milk she just had.
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I dont even know how to ask about this topic..... help?

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Christina - posted on 11/12/2010

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My pediatrician actually a few weeks ago asked if I was giving my 4 month old water (knowing she's exclusively bf). I said 'no' and she told me to start giving her drop fulls so she'll get used to the taste at least. I just smiled and moved on to the next subject. lol. Lilly will "get used" to the taste of water in a few months when I start to introduce a sippy cup to her. People along the way (even dr's) will give us advice that we do not agree with. That's life : / Oh and when my older daughter was still nursing, she had a few uti's which resulted in high temps, I nursed her thru them without ever giving her water. Even during the summer when it's hot out, breastmilk is wonderful and just what your baby needs!

Ania - posted on 11/12/2010

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and don't worry for how long she is eating, she eats enough, my son always nursed for 5-7 min and he was a chubby baby

Nicole - posted on 11/12/2010

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Water is added to powdered formula because it's just that: milk powder. All of the water has been removed, therefore, it needs to be put back in. And adding too much water to a formula mixture has, unfortunately, harmed many babies in the past. Breast milk, however, already has the right amount of water and thus, no other water is needed.

I always question ANY recommendations from a physician to supplement a baby under the age of 6 months with water. My training and education has only taught me that it is too much of a risk to take. Even if a baby is running a fever, as long as nursing is going well, no other fluids are needed. The reason it is recommended when a baby has a fever is due to the assumption that a sick baby will not nurse very well and fluids should be *forced* upon baby. I would much rather a mother *force* expressed breast milk on her baby rather than water when the baby has a fever. The baby needs the proper nutrition and antibodies that the breast milk provides when he/she is sick probably MORE than at any other time and water will only fill the baby up on... well... water.

I look at it this way: Before there were bottles and syringes, how were mothers able to feed their babies water? Well, when they can drink it themselves. When they are older.

*Plain water* has the potential to be toxic to babies because they were beautifully designed to absorb water better than us. This is because nature tells us that they *should* only receive breast milk which is about 75% of water. Therefore, their bodies need to work harder to absorb every bit of that 75% since they *naturally* won't receive *plain* 100% water and, just like adults, too much water can mess with electrolyte levels and cause health problems or death. That problem happens easier in babies because they absorb that water so much better.

Sorry so long. I just hate that not only do we (as a society) fill that formula is a good substitute to breast milk, but formula use has also made us think that babies need all kinds of things they don't (i.e. water, glucose water, cereal bottles, and so on).

Celeste - posted on 11/12/2010

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Carolyn, water itself isn't dangerous, because water is mixed with formula, plus, our breastmilk is mostly comprised of water. It's TOO much water that's dangerous.

Celeste - posted on 11/12/2010

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No, she doesn't need water, especially at 1 month old. Too much water can lead to 1) water intoxication and 2) interfere with milk supply (and baby's nutrition)
Couple of links:
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids...
http://www.storknet.com/guests/anne11.ht...
http://www.todaysparent.com/baby/foodnut...

Your 2nd question? You don't have to time baby's nursings. She's done when she' stops on her own. Spitting up is pretty common, though there could be a few causes-OALD, reflux, or food sensitivies:
Overactive letdown:
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-l...

Other possible causes of spit up:
http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/ref...

But again, spit up in babies is pretty common and doesn't mean there's anything wrong..

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[deleted account]

They USED to say give water, when almost everyone was formula feeding, and the formula was a lot thicker. That is why the older generations believe you have to give water.

Lydia - posted on 11/16/2010

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it's one of those old wives tales... don't give water. it can cause severe problems for your baby, even death through water intoxication. i read some studies when my mother in law didn't stop bothering me about the water thing (she'd ask all the time and try to convince me that i had to give water...) first of all breastmilk is both food and drink. the foremilk is more watery (drink), the hindmilk thicker (food). sometimes your baby might be thirsty and only drink very short time (happened with my daughter a lot during the hot summer). actually the breastmilk adjusts to hotter dry weather and gets more watery to meet the increased need for liquids in hot weather. there have been studies in hot climate countries and there has NEVER been an on-demand breastfed child that had dehydration. the only cases of dehydration in breastfed babies were found when they were sick, had diarrhea for several days etc.

Krystal - posted on 11/16/2010

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My daughter is six months and I do give her about 3 ounces of water sometimes and usually not all at once. I've talked to my wic case manager and her pediatrician and sometimes my daughter is just thirsty not everyday and not all the time but if she is she gets about 1 oz and then she is happy. But there are risks like all the other mom's have said. Good luck, as for the great grandpa, just tell him you want her to nurse if she is thirsty, hungry, upset, or whatever the case is and you are okay with that!

Sarah - posted on 11/15/2010

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She does not need water. Nursing provides her with the food and fluid she needs not to mention comfort. I wouldn't worry too much about how long she nurses. As long as she is satisfied, wetting/dirtying her diapers and growing there is no need to be concerned about how much time she spends at the breast. My daughter has been a very quick eater pretty much since the beginning, she is now almost 6 months old and in the 80% percentile for her weight.

[deleted account]

Water is not needed under 6 months (and can be fatal)... and then only in small amounts if/when you are starting solids.

Patricia - posted on 11/15/2010

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I nurse on demand, he lets me know when he is hungry and when he is full. Sometimes he goes for 3 mins and sometimes longer. As long as your baby is gaining weight they are getting enough.

As for water, there are no calories so don't fill them up with it.

My son had heavy gas and spit up alot as well, I stopped drinking milk and switched to soya milk and cut down on other dairy products this along with prevacid (meds for acid reflux) worked wonderfully for me. I also watch what I eat when is comes to gassy foods because if they give you gas then they will also give the baby gas. Remember they are eating what you are eating. Hope this helps :)

[deleted account]

Mine nursed for 3 minutes every hour for the first year. It was mostly due to a nursing strike. I could only trick him into nursing when he was just waking up. He couldn't sleep long because he was hungry, so we got into this pattern of hour-long cycles. 3 minutes nursing, about half an hour awake, about half an hour asleep, and do it all over again.

Taylor - posted on 11/14/2010

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Well the water topic appears to be fairly well covered so......
My son only nurses for a few minutes aswell. I have a pretty heavy letdown - when he was a newborn he would choke and sputter - he's used to it now but it means he doesn't need to nurse long unless he is just doing it for comfort, not hunger. He is 5 months old and growing like a weed so its obviously not a problem that he only nurses for 5 - 10 minutes every 2 hours!

[deleted account]

Christina, LOL about getting used to the taste. My son didn't have water until he was about a year (and then it was because he was out with his grandparents and wanted it along with solids). Now he loves to drink water. He prefers it over juice or soda.

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About how long a baby nurses each time, the early milk has more water and the later milk has more fat. The baby knows this, and will nurse the right amount of time based on if she is more thirsty or more hungry. Many short feedings probably means more thirst, and fewer longer feedings probably means more hunger.

[deleted account]

You don't give water until you introduce solids. You don't want to fill you little one up with something that has no calories.

I cluster fed. So my daughter breastfed 5-10 minutes every 10 minutes for about 2 hours.

Christina - posted on 11/12/2010

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I agree with not worrying about short nursing times! My 4 year old (bf her for 22 months) would nurse for what seemed hours lol. But my now 5 month old nurses for little short bouts. She is just starting to nurse for longer periods of times but still has her "snacks" : )

Katie - posted on 11/12/2010

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A baby shouldn't have water before 6 month. Breastmilk contains all that they need. If a baby's thirsty, they'll drink the breastmilk to satisfy that thirst. The first milk is very watery to satisfy thirst, while the hindmilk is creamy to satisfy hunger.

Ania - posted on 11/12/2010

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No water!!!! Milk is everything for her until she starts eating real food

Rachel - posted on 11/12/2010

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the first milk that comes out is designed to have more water in it to quench thirst the hind milk has more fat and callories. you dont' need to suplement with water your milk has all the water she needs.

[deleted account]

Water should not be given to babies under 2 months at all, which is why I said at that age (unless they use formula and it must be mixed properly or unless directed to do so by a doctor).



"For newborns (especially under 4-5 weeks), water supplements can be risky



Babies under two months should not be given supplemental water.

Water supplements are associated with increased bilirubin levels in jaundiced newborns.

Too much water can lead to a serious condition called oral water intoxication.

Water supplements fill baby up without adding calories, so water supplements can result in weight loss (or insufficient weight gain) for the baby.

Babies who get water supplements are less interested in nursing. If baby is not nursing as often as he should, it will take longer for mom's milk to come in and can delay or prevent mom from establishing an optimum milk supply."

from http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids...

Carolyn - posted on 11/12/2010

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yes i get that, i was commenting on the post before mine, which to me made it sound like any amount of water can be dangerous.

Carolyn - posted on 11/12/2010

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its old school thought. people who havent had babies for 50 years arent up to date with current research. they arent meaning to do any harm. Im only 26 and my mom and all my aunts gave all of their babies water, just like they were all told formula was better.



now just to add, if water was dangerous, formula wouldnt be indicated to be mixed with it.



I was actually advised by a doctoc to give my newborn very small amounts of water to keep him wet until my milk started to come in. I was also advised to use water when my son had a virus and was running a tempt of 104.



but no your breastmilk should be giving the baby all the fluid it needs. unless there are other circumstances and you are advised to use water for hydration by a medical professional. it is not necessary.

[deleted account]

lol...cheese curds. I completely agree with Lisa and Celeste. Water at this age is not only unnecessary, it can be dangerous.

Minnie - posted on 11/12/2010

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I suppose that water would be necessary if you your milk consisted solely of cheese curds :/. As it is, your milk is a liquid, consisting of 85% water. It's all she needs. My own two year old has only just started drinking more than a sip of water here and there.



It's frustrating to hear comments that tell you to go against your instincts. Try to be intuitive, pay attention to your baby and her demeanor and you'll be fine.

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