Is your infant getting enough fluids from formula?

My daughter won't take juice or water. She normally has four bottles a day of formula. I worry that she isn't getting enough fluids. She eats a wide variety of solid foods. Do you think she is getting enough to drink?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

You did not mention how old your daughter is, but I will assume that she is still an infant less than one year. Infants are born with a still immature kidney that is not as efficient as an older child's at maintaining a proper water balance. Because of this it is important to not dilute or concentrate baby's formula. Formula (when properly mixed) and breast milk have the balance of water, nutrients and salt that a baby's kidney can handle. Normal, healthy infants do not require extra water.

Your daughter sounds like she is getting just the right amount of fluid from her formula. A newborn requires 16 to 24 ounces of fluid a day, and by age one a baby needs 32 to 40 ounces a day. If your daughter is drinking four, 250ml bottles, she is getting 30 ounces of fluid (250ml x 4 bottles x .03 oz/ml = 30 ounces) which is well within the normal range for an infant.

If she is also eating a wide variety of solids, she is getting fluid from them as well. Fruits and vegetables are 80 to 95% water! On a day to day basis, thirst and water requirement will vary just like hunger. On hot days she will need more fluid. That is why it is important to continue to offer her water, so that should she be thirsty, it is available to her, but so long as she is healthy and happy, and you are offering the fluids to her (without forcing them) than rely on her to determine the amount she needs to drink.

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