why can babies have water in formula but not actual water before 6 months?

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why can babies have water in formula but not actual water before 6 months?

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Because babies can easily get water intoxication and die. Formula gives them electrolytes and calories. After babies are 6 months old they can have small amounts of just plain water, because they are also getting nutrition and electrolytes from solid foods

plain water puts them at risk of sodium deficiency, hyponatremia. sodium is provided in breastmilk and formula, in safe levels, and plain water would reduce the concentration of sodium from safe levels.

Think of baby formula like medicine. Let’s say you need two Tylenol to make your headache go away. If you crunch up these two Tylenol and mix it with a gallon of water you now have to drink the whole gallon of water to make your headache go away. But your stomach is small, you can’t drink a whole gallon of water. So you only drink a cup of water but that doesn’t give you enough Tylenol to make your headache go away.
So baby formula mixed with the right amount of water (follow the instructions) gives you the right amount of calories and nutrients to grow. But when you add too much water (or drink only water with no formula mixed in) you don’t get enough nutrients to grow.

Newborn babies are constantly pretty close to starvation, because they have a lot of big energy demands adults don’t have. Running human brains takes a lot of energy, and they have more brain tissue per body mass than adults. Also, they’re constantly growing new flesh, which takes a lot of energy. And keeping a small body warm is harder than doing the same for a large body because of the square-cube law. If you measure what chemical forms of energy are in a baby’s blood, you’ll find that they’re producing ketones like a starving person or someone on a low-carb diet no matter what they eat (though admittedly, part of the purpose of that is because ketones are used to build new brain tissue).

As a result of this constant energy need, giving a baby any significant amount of something to eat that isn’t food is dangerous for them because it means they have less room for food in their diets and they need all they can get. Formula is food suitable for newborn babies mixed into water, so giving it to them isn’t depriving them of essential nutrition.

If you put water in a baby all the salt will come out of the baby into the water. This is between a little bad and very bad depending out how much it happens, Formula is as salty as a baby is so the salt stays put and stays in the baby.