Why You Should Be Concerned about Baby Dehydration

 

Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluid than it takes in and you don't have enough water and other fluids for normal bodily functions. Just about anyone can become dehydrated, but young children are among those at higher risk.1 Infants and children are especially susceptible to dehydration because they have comparatively small body weights and high water and electrolyte turnover. They're also more likely to have diarrhea,2 one of the common causes of dehydration.1

 

How to Tell If Your Baby is Dehydrated

There are many signs a baby may be dehydrated. Here are just a few: he’s gone more than three hours without a wet diaper, he’s less active than usual, his mouth is dry and sticky and he has few tears when crying. Among the signs of serious dehydration are extreme fussiness or sleepiness, sunken eyes, little or no urination (any produced is amber or dark yellow), no tears when crying and sunken soft spots on his head. Thirst may not be a reliable gauge of your baby’s need for fluids.3

 

How to Prevent Dehydration

Infants get all the water they need from breast milk or formula before they start eating solid foods. After a bottle-fed baby is six months old, you can try giving him water between feedings, but don’t force it or worry if he rejects it. Breastfed babies don’t usually need extra water as long as they have proper access to breast milk.4

 

 

Your baby’s need for fluid will increase once he starts eating solid food, and plain water is a healthier option than juice. Also, babies who are ill may need extra fluids, especially if they have a fever, diarrhea or vomiting.4

 

There are a few circumstances where your baby is at a higher risk of dehydration. Pay attention to the signs and ask your doctor about giving your baby extra fluids when he:

  • Runs a fever

  • Gets overheated from too much activity on a hot day or sitting in a hot environment

  • Has diarrhea

  • Is vomiting

  • Refuses to drink because of a sore throat or other ailment5

Keep in mind, however, that too much water in babies under a year old can lead to water intoxication, a condition where water dilutes sodium in the blood and flushes it out of the body. This can alter brain activity and lead to a seizure.6 Always talk to your pediatrician before taking action if you’re concerned about your baby being dehydrated.

 

 

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