How does plain water give babies water intoxication but the same amount of water mixed with formula does not?

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How does plain water give babies water intoxication but the same amount of water mixed with formula does not?

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This is most likely because it replenishes the sodium that is lost when the baby consumes an excess amount of water.

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Water intoxication is basically “diluted blood”. It’s not so much “too much water” as “too much water *for the electorolytes* in the blood” (sodium, potassium etc.)

If you top up your electrolytes at the same time as you drink water, it’s easy to keep in balance. If you drink pure water, your body will actually absorb the water more quickly because of [osmosis](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmosis)

An *adult* body will compensate for a fair range of intake, providing you’re not dehydrated or whatever already, but babies’ bodies aren’t as good at various things as adults’ bodies (including heat regulation, focussing eyes, walking…) so their intake needs to be more balanced than for adults.

Related to this, an adult will have a better chance of responding by seeking different drinks / foods (whereas a baby can’t usually even communicate this need, let alone meet it without help)

The problem with water intoxication is that with your electrolytes diluted too much, all the jobs they do in your body (firing neurones, triggering muscles) don’t work as well, leading to all sorts of problems that in extreme cases can be fatal. Ironically, the earlier stages feel somewhat similar to dehydration, so it’s worth knowing about it if you’re in a situation where it’s a possibility. A classic one is marathon runners who generally have easy access to water and generally aren’t sweating all that much.

Isotonic drinks are basically the adult equivalent of baby formula from this POV 😛

Go drink a beer. Then, when you sober up, drink a beer while eating. Notice the difference? Same thing for babies