Sugar water has long been thought of as OK to give your baby, but should you?
When it comes to your baby’s health, it is sometimes hard to decide what foods and drinks are healthy and which are not. Being a parent is a difficult task (especially if it is your first child), and making sure you give your baby exactly what he or she needs to grow and develop is very important.
Though there have been many debates about it over the past few years, your child will need to be immunized. These immunizations can be painful for your baby, and any parent knows they hate when their child cries. So how do you calm them?
Some researchers have used sugar water to pacify a baby during immunizations. While this practice has been safely done during medical procedures — it was shown to reduce crying and decrease pain — giving your baby sugar water at home is not a good idea.
Can I Give My Baby Sugar Water? Answer: Not Recommended
Not only do they not need the water, but the sugar is not good for your baby. The only sugars that are healthy for your child are those found naturally in fruits, vegetables and breast milk.
Sugary food and drinks are bad for your baby’s health (and adult’s health too) because they are high in calories and not filling. Sugar is also known to suppress the immune system, reducing your baby’s natural ability to fight off disease.
Sugar also suppresses the release of the human growth hormone and raises insulin levels. Over time, the over consumption of sugar will require more insulin to be produced, and eventually, your pancreas can stop responding, resulting in diabetes.
Your baby should never be given sugar water. In fact, until your baby is around six months old, he or she should never be given regular water. Your baby will get all the necessary hydration he or she needs through breast milk and formula.
Also, you should never dilute your baby’s formula with more water and less powder to save money. Not only does this interfere with your baby’s health by preventing them from receiving essential nutrients, but you could also cause water intoxication.
Be Careful with Water
Water intoxication, which is also referred to as hyper-hydration or water poisoning, occurs when people drink too much water. If water is over-consumed, the electrolytes in your body are thrown off balance, making them unsafe for your body. When this happens, brain function becomes impaired and can result in fatality.
Every time your baby urinates, their excretion contains water, sodium and electrolytes. If a baby consumes too much water, they may urinate more often, which will make them get rid of too much sodium.
If your baby does not keep a healthy level of sodium in their body, it can cause water intoxication, which may result in irritability, lack of responsiveness, swelling of the brain and/or seizures.
Water intoxication can occur if a baby has diarrhea. If a child is becoming dehydrated, it is best to replace their lost fluids with a solution specifically formulated for rehydration, such as Pedialyte.
The risk of water intoxication is also more likely to occur if the baby’s formula has been diluted. Formula is healthiest when prepared correctly, so don’t skimp on the formula and add more water to your baby’s bottles to try to save some money.
Water should not be given to babies under six months of age. A baby’s stomach is small, and too much water will fill them up quickly. This will result in a baby not taking their formula or breast milk, which is essential to a baby, as those are his or her main source of nutrients.
After the immune system has matured and once baby starts solid foods, water is the very best additional beverage after formula or breast milk. Along with solids and their regular formula or breast milk feedings, babies can have 2 to 4 ounces of water between feedings, especially in hot weather.
If your child is getting an immunization, and you know they are going to feel pain, it is best to stick with Tylenol or Motrin to suppress your child’s aches.
Tip for Breastfeeding Moms
If you breastfeed, you can also try breastfeeding shortly after the shot, as the natural sugars in your breast milk may also decrease pain and reduce crying. Or you can simply rest assured that the crying and the pain will only last a few minutes.
If you have any questions about using sugar water, it is recommended to consult your child’s physician. He or she will be able to better explain the use and discuss any of your concerns more thoroughly.