Never dilute your baby’s formula milk
We look at why it is strongly advised to never dilute your baby’s formula
It may be hard to believe that water can be dangerous for your baby but it’s important to know that babies should not drink water before the age of six months.
Why is water dangerous for young babies?
Water doesn’t have any nutritional value and babies get everything they need from breast milk or formula in their early months. Diluting your baby’s breast or formula milk can interfere with their body's ability to absorb the nutrients in breast milk or formula. Occasionally, a baby who drinks too much water can develop a condition known as water intoxication, which can cause seizures. This can occur when too much water dilutes the concentration of sodium in the body, upsetting the electrolyte balance and causing tissues to swell. Therefore, you should never dilute your baby’s breast or formula milk with water.
Breast milk contains more than 80% water, especially the first milk that comes with each feed. If you are breastfeeding and think your baby may be thirsty you can offer them the breast. This will satisfy your baby’s thirst, and continue to 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.
What if my baby’s dehydrated due to illness?
If your baby is unwell with gastroentreritis for example, they may be at risk of dehydration. It’s important to take advice from your GP or healthcare professional who may suggest a rehydration powder such as Dioralyte to use temporarily.