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Does my breastfed baby need water in hot weather?

No. If your baby has only breastmilk, he doesn't need to drink water as well. If you replace nourishing milk with water, he'll miss out on essential nutrients. It may also upset his feeding habits.

Breastmilk contains antibodies that help to protect your baby against infections. So missing out on milk may make your baby more likely to become unwell.

Research shows that babies who are exclusively breastfed don't need extra water in hot weather. If babies are allowed to breastfeed whenever they want to, they won't become dehydrated.

Breastmilk is made up of mostly water. In hot weather your baby is likely to feed more often, for shorter periods of time. He'll then be getting extra foremilk, which is thinner and more refreshing than the fat-rich hindmilk, which comes at the end of a feed. Letting your baby have as many extra feeds as he wants when the weather is hot will ensure he gets plenty of water.

If the weather is hot and you're breastfeeding, being a bit thirsty won't affect your milk supply. But make sure that you have plenty to drink, so you don't become dehydrated.

Babies who are formula fed may, however, need to have some boiled, cooled water in addition to their usual feeds in hot weather.

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