"My mother-in-law gave my 3-month-old baby water behind my back"
The mother-in-law had previously been told that babies at her age don't need water. Would you be "furious" too? Why can't babies have water?
It can sometimes be difficult to release a little control when you're entrusting someone else to care for your baby. There's also a fine line between asking people to follow your wishes when it comes to the care of your baby, and micromanaging their offer to help.
One mum has posted to parenting forum, Mumsnet about how her mother-in-law did something that went against her wishes. The woman had fed her 13-week-old baby water after she had specifically asked her not to.
"I said no, babies don't need water"
The mum explained that her daughter has a sensitive stomach, so they have been advised by the doctor to feed her in small doses. She's otherwise "a super lovely easy baby, rarely cries and sleeps through (most) nights".
A few weeks ago, on a rather hot day, the mum said her mother-in-law suggested she give the 13-week-old baby some water to help her cool down.
"I said no, babies don't need water and with her tummy being so sensitive I'd rather she didn't have anything she wasn't used to," the woman wrote in her post.
But now, a few weeks later, the couple left their baby girl with the mother-in-law while they attended a wedding. And even though things appeared to go smoothly, they noticed something different with their daughter after they picked her up.
"Again, a very hot day and MIL had changed her into a vest, sleepsuit and a blanket," the woman continued.
"I was already a bit annoyed about this so I stripped her off to cool her down and noticed how bloated her stomach was.
"I text MIL to ask if DD (darling daughter) had been okay throughout the day and her response was 'I think she was a bit too hot but I gave her a 6oz (175ml) bottle of water so she'll be fine'."
The mum added that her daughter was OK after a few "bumsplosions" but has asked if she is unreasonable to be "fuming" over her mother-in-law's blatant disregard for her instructions.
"It's just some water this time but what will it be next time, feeding her solids? Giving her sugary drinks?" she added.
"A sip would be a non issue but 6oz is a lot"
Responses online were mixed, particularly given the baby was given the equivalent to 175mls.
"I was going to say YABU (you are being unreasonable) as this used to be common practice and could have been well-meaning but actually as you’d previously discussed it she shouldn’t have gone against your instructions," replied one person.
Another scoffed: "6 oz of water?! Bloody hell. A sip would be a non issue but 6oz is a lot. My 11 month old doesn't even drink that in one go. YANBU (you are not being unreasonable) especially since you'd already asked her not to."
"6oz of water is a lot for a 13 weeker," added another. "She knew you didn’t want baby to have water and she’s still given it. She wouldn’t be looking after the baby again until she could respect my wishes."
But others brushed it off as harmless.
"I think she was doing what she thought best to ensure your baby didn’t become dehydrated," replied one person.
Another said it's a simple misunderstanding: "I would chalk it up to a misunderstanding. It is what they were told to do in her generation. Too much though but it's only water, she'll be fine."
Why can't babies have water?
According to HealthDirect, babies only need breast milk or formula for the first six months.
In especially hot weather, cooled boiled water may be offered in small amounts after six months of age. Excess water consumption can lead to water intoxication which can be very harmful.
HealthDirect recommendations for infants' water intake
- If your baby is under six months old, they only need to drink breast milk or infant formula.
- From six months of age, you can give your baby small amounts of water, if needed, in addition to their breast milk or formula feeds.
- Water must NOT replace their breastmilk or formula feeds.
- Breast milk or formula should still be their main drink up to 12 months of age.
- After 12 months, their main drink should be water and cow’s milk or breast milk. You can offer water and milk in a cup. There’s no need to boil tap water once your baby has reached 12 months.
- If your baby has just started on solids, start with a few sips of water from a cup when they are eating. This is so they can learn about drinking from a cup and it can also help prevent constipation due to the increased bulk of their poo.
This article was republished with permission from KidSpot.