The hot weather can bring a whole host of problems when it comes to babies and young children.
Keeping them cool and shaded in the day is one thing, before you even start with what to dress them in for bed.
With the rising temperatures come rising concerns over whether they are getting enough fluid to keep hydrated in the heat.
Babies and infants are at particular risk of dehydration because they have a low body weight and are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss.
But with contradicting information on the internet and differing opinions on what is right and wrong, it can be difficult to access the best advice.
So what fluid do babies need?
According to the British Nutrition Foundation exclusively breast fed babies don’t require any additional water until they’ve started eating solid foods at around six months.
Bottle-fed babies may need some extra water in hot weather, but it’s recommended to take advice from a health visitor first and more frequent formula feeding may also give them the added water they need.
What water can they drink?
If giving water to babies under six months, it should be tap water that has been freshly boiled then cooled, as it’s not sterile straight from the tap. Bottled water is not suitable for babies as the mineral content may be too high.
Kathy Crew, of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s nurse partnership team, said: "For babies under six months, if you are fully breastfeeding your baby you don’t need to give them water as well as breast milk.
"They may want to breast feed more than usual in extremely hot, dry weather, but your baby can get all the liquids needed via breast milk.
"Formula fed babies also do not routinely need extra water. Some sources do suggest offering cooled boiled water to a formula fed baby when it is very hot outside, although the baby may prefer to get extra water from more frequent formula milk feeding. The advice we give is information from NHS choices.”
Signs of dehydration in babies
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in.
A baby may be dehydrated if they:
- have a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head
- have few or no tears when they cry
- have fewer wet nappies
- are drowsy
The body is affected even when you lose a small amount of fluid.
What to do if your baby becomes dehydrated
Infants and small children who are dehydrated shouldn’t be given large amounts of water alone as the main replacement fluid. This is because it can dilute the already low level of minerals in their body too much and lead to other problems.
Instead, they should be given diluted squash or a rehydration solution (available from pharmacies). You might find a teaspoon or syringe can be helpful for getting fluid into a young child.
Source: Manchester Evening News