Baby Hints & Tips

Dehydrated baby: safety alert

Safety alert: dehydrated babyGP, Melissa Homewood, offers a timely reminder on keeping your baby well hydrated over the hotter months.

In the summer heat babies need more fluid.

Make sure you take plenty of cool water and offer regularly (or breastfeed if applicable).

A good tip is to half freeze a bottle with water, then top up with cool water – as the day goes on the ice half will melt, keeping up your supply of cool water.

If you are offering a well baby/child enough water and keeping them out of the heat as much as is possible (e.g. avoid prolonged direct sun without shade, never leave in a hot car) you shouldn’t run into any great problems with dehydration. If you are worried about this keep an eye on the wet nappies (and how heavy they are).

Wet nappies

Number of wet nappies gives a bit of an indication although is obviously not a very exact science! Factors such as how often you change them and absorbency of the nappy will influence this.  The weight of the nappy is a better indicator.

o   Again, this is a very general guide, but you would probably expect at least 6 wet nappies a day.

o   Compare the number and weight of wet nappies to what is about usual for your baby

Other signs of a dehydrated baby

Other signs of dehydration include dry tongue, tearless crying, sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on the baby’s head), a pale/lethargic child, rapid breathing and sunken eyes. Note that a lot of these are signs of quite significant dehydration.  Water should be offered and medical advice sought if you are concerned.

Medical disclaimer: Tips provided need to be considered in conjunction with medical advice. For immediate concerns, please contact HealthDirect (Australia wide) ph 1800 022 222 – to talk to a registered nurse 24hrs a day, and in emergencies call 000.

About the Author:

I'm a GP on the Sunshine Coast with an interest in paediatrics and women's health. One of the absolute highlights of my job is looking after women throughout their pregnancies, seeing their newborns and watching them grow up/adding to their families over time. I am currently waiting for my 2nd baby to arrive whilst tackling the sleep problems/tantrums/toilet training (or not)/general hyperactive behaviour of my crazy but wonderful 2 year old boy.

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