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Should breastfed babies be given water as well?

(8 Posts)
HPonEverything Thu 08-Sep-11 11:03:41

I'm so confused! I asked this question at Parenting class and the MW said no. Lots of people who've had children have told me yes. A different MW said yes. I think I read somewhere yes.

I asked in the first place at the class because I don't understand how the baby copes for the first couple of days with no liquid whatsoever. But I've had all these conflicting answers about how it's good and bad to give them water that now I don't know whether I'm coming or going and the baby is due in a few weeks.

Please help me, I feel so overwhelmed!

KirstyJC Thu 08-Sep-11 11:07:59

No, you don't need to - as long as baby is BFeeding well on demand and you're getting plenty of wet napppies, then they are getting what they need from you. I have/am BFeeding my third and have never given water as well.

If you are worried about baby getting enough liquid then keep checking you get wet nappies and that the fontanelle on the top of the head is not sunken, which would be a sign of dehydration.

Debs75 Thu 08-Sep-11 11:09:14


Do not give an exclusive breastfed baby water until she/he is weaning onto solid food.
When you start a feed they get a thirstquenching foremilk and then get the richer hindmilk. That is why when it is a scorching day breastfed babies seem to feed all day, they just have a 'drink' for a few mins then are satisfied. My first dd was only 3 months old when summer hit and some days she was constantly on and off.

Straight after birth they just need to feed to boost your supply and they do get enough to sustain them. You will be producing enough colostrum/milk to keep them going but you will be feeing often in the first few weeks.

HenriettaFarthingay Thu 08-Sep-11 11:11:02

With my four (all breastfed), I always offered water now and then, if for nothing else, to get them used to a bottle, in case it was needed. They didn't necessarily take it, mind. However, I think present day thinking is that they don't need it, specially if breast fed. And they're not getting no liquid whatsoever in the first couple of days - they're getting colostrum.

Anyway, my youngest is almost 25, so what do I know?

Hope you get it figured out soon, and don't lose sleep over it. All will be well and your baby will be the most gorgeous baby ever. smile

KirstyJC Thu 08-Sep-11 11:11:03

Oh, and a demand fed baby would just ask for more milk if they get thirsy - the few hot days we have had this year, mine just asked for more milk and then simply fed for less time.

If you are worried, ask your Health VIsitor or MW to explain the signs of dehydration more clearly. Hopefully that should reassure you. smile

EauRouge Thu 08-Sep-11 11:33:42

Exclusively BF babies do not need water. It can be risky to offer a very young baby water and for older babies it can interfere with BF as it fills them up and then they don't feed. Info here.

Kellymom is a great resource for BF info if you get confused or you're not sure about what your HV/MW has told you. A BF group like LLL or NCT would be helpful too. MW and HV are occasionally not very up-to-date with BF info because they have so many other things to do.

lilham Thu 08-Sep-11 11:42:27

No you don't need to. I've heard it from the NCT bf counselor and also from bf books. As long as you demand feed. The hot days are pass us now but you'll notice bf babies demand feeds very very often on those days. (Mine was like every hour)! Breastmilk is very easy to digest and so will give the fluid they need, without the bits they can't digest, iyswim.

TruthSweet Thu 08-Sep-11 13:22:12

You don't have no milk for the first few days, you have a type of milk called colostrum which is packed with anti-bodies and nutrients but lower in fat than 'mature' milk.

Mature milk starts coming in between day 3-5 although in certain circumstances it can take up to 7 days (possibly having a c-section, excess IV Fluids, large blood loss, etc may delay milk coming in).

If you keep baby close (pref. skin to skin) and feed when baby gives early feeding cues then baby should have all the milk they need. Newborns do feed a LOT and I do mean a LOT - you are looking at a minimum of 8-12 feeds a day but more than that is fine too.

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