Does a Newborn Drink Water?

The human body is made mostly of water, especially newborns, who are said to have 75% water content within their bodies. Water is so fundamental to our lives, for without it, there is no chance of survival.

Interestingly, I noticed giving birth and raising children in the United States, I hadn't thought about giving my newborn water. I didn't see others doing it and just assumed that breastmilk was sufficient for the baby to drink. I always breastfeed on demand so all my children drink often for the first year or so.

In the West, doctors even advise against it, claiming it interferes with nutrient intake, weight gain, mother's milk supply and chemical imbalances. They recommend to wait until six months before giving babies water or when babies start to consume solid foods.

When I came to West Africa and gave birth for the first time to my daughter, immediately following her birth, the elders explained the need and normalcy of the practice and were constantly requesting that I give her drops of water. They would ask me from time to time if the baby drank water. It started as giving her drops and as weeks passed I would increase the amount of water slowly to tiny sips and so on. Of course only giving very very small quantities at a time. Of course even for adults, too much or too little water can be fatal so the consideration of moderation given the life you are dealing with cannot be overlooked. However, this doesn't change the fact that water is essential to human survival.

Do you give your newborn water?

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