Did you know babies under 6 months old can’t have water? So how do you keep baby hydrated when out in the heat of the summer? Unless your child is old enough to use a sippy cup, giving water isn’t the answer. Elizabeth Doyle, M.D., director of lactation services for Norton Healthcare, advises that you still need to offer breast milk or formula frequently, even if it isn’t a normal feeding time.
“If you have to be outdoors in the summer time and you are thirsty, odds are your baby is thirsty too,” Dr. Doyle said. “Don’t watch the clock for their next scheduled feeding, watch your baby and offer breast milk or formula to help quench their thirst and keep them hydrated.”
5 tips for keeping baby hydrated when spending time outdoors:
- Offer breast milk or formula more frequently than normal to help quench baby’s thirst; never offer water to a baby under 6 months old.
- Avoid peak hours of heat and sun, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest.
- Keep your baby covered with a sun shade or umbrella. This includes a hat!
- Dress your baby as you would dress. Shorts, tank tops and light-colored clothing are the best. If you are hot, your baby is too.
- Use age-appropriate sunscreen and consider testing it on their skin the day before. This will tell you if the lotion has ingredients your child is allergic to before you head out.
If at any point your baby becomes ill, is vomiting or lethargic, contact your pediatrician and/or seek immediate medical attention.
Elizabeth M. Doyle, M.D., director of lactation services for Norton Healthcare, is an internal medicine/pediatrics physician at Norton Community Medical Associates – Shepherdsville, 115 Huston Drive, Suite 1, Shepherdsville, KY 40165; (502) 955-7311