Ms. Jeri Moss didn’t know that drinking water could be harmful, so she thought she could stretch her baby’s formula by adding extra water to it.
Then last week, her 5 month old son LaDamian had a seizure and stopped breathing. As Ms. Moss tried to revive him with CPR, it never occurred to her that giving him water could be the problem. “If I knew it was harmful, I never would have done it,” she said.
Doctors think LaDamian will recover completely; but warned that most parents do not know that too much water can be dangerous for baby.
Moss stated that she was not getting enough baby formula from WIC (Women’s, Infants and Children nutrition program.). She decided to use less formula (4 scoops instead of 6.) She has been feeding her son that combination since he was born.
LaDamian was born weighing 5 pounds 8ounces. He now weighs 8 pounds 6 ounces. He should weigh about 12 pounds now.
WIC officials told Ms. Moss that the program is only supplemental and urged Ms. Moss to breastfeed. Ms. Moss had tried nursing her 18 month old, Yasmine but felt Yasmine was always hungry, so she never breastfed La Damian.
Pediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children’s Medical stated that water is not a healthful drink for babies under one year. Every year they see babies suffering seizures after been given water to drink. It takes very little water to cause water intoxication .As little as 3 ounces can be too much.
Too much water dilutes sodium in the blood, and flushes it out of the body, altering brain activity which then can lead to seizures. The infant’s immature kidneys cannot flush out the excess water fast enough, causing a dangerous buildup of fluid.
Baby formula is nutritionally balanced when mixed correctly. When the formula is diluted, the baby must take in more to get the nutrients he needs. The baby becomes either malnourished or runs the risk of water intoxication.
Symptoms of water intoxication in an infant:
changes in mental status; irritability or excess crying
Low body temperature, usually 97 degrees or less
facial swelling or puffiness
With less money for food in these difficult times, water intoxication is becoming a serious health concern. WIC programs and Food Pantries can just do so much. Breast feeding is best for babies and the least expensive. La Leche League and the WIC program will provide on going support and education to pregnant and new mothers who wish to breast feed.
St. Pete Times
Nutrition Research Newsletter…BNET
Junk food Science: A health advisory for parents
About.com…Water Intoxication & Babies