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A member asked:

A 3 week old breast feeding infant. does this baby need extra water from a bottle if constipated? does this baby need to take water from a bottle?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics 23 years experience
Breast : Breast milk provides everything a baby needs in the first 6 months to a year of life. Babies do not need extra water. In fact, young babies' kidneys are immature and cannot regulate the blood's sodium levels appropriately if given too much of anything besides breast milk or formula. Giving too much water can actually lead to seizures. If your baby is constipated, there are a few things you can do. 1.) give pear or prune juice - 1oz/age in months/day so in your case, no more than 1 oz per day. Not only does prune or pear juice have sugar which can help soften bms, but also has fiber (notice the gritty texture when you drink it?). This does not mean that you should be feeding your baby juice as a part of his regular diet, but it's ok in daily small amounts to treat constipation. 2.) if juice does not work, then you can try a glycerine suppository which you can buy over the counter. Just cut a pea-sized piece of the glycerine and place it in the baby's anus to lubricate the hard stool. This is not meant for daily use, so if you find that your baby needs a suppository in order to have a bm despite dietary changes, discuss with your child's doctor. 3.) do not use mineral oil, laxatives or enemas. These methods are not safe for infants. 4.) finally, if constipation is persistent and not improved with any of the above recommendations, be sure to contact your baby's doctor. There are some very rare underlying disorders such as hirschprung's disease, cystic fibrosis or hypothyroidism that can cause chronic constipation.
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Dr. Ronda Dennis-Smithart
Specializes in Pediatrics
No!: Breast milk provides everything that infants need. In fact, babies under 4 months, who are given supplemental water may develop a condition called 'water intoxication' which is associated with seizures. Are baby's stools hard or just infrequent? Breast fed babies may have bms with every feed, or as infrequently as 1-2 times a week, soft/mushy stools. Talk specifics with dr.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Oct 3, 2016


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