It is estimated that 60%-70% of our body weight is water. Some studies show in newborns it is higher! Water plays a major role in keeping our bodies functioning properly. It plays a role in our mood, boosts brain function, prevents fatigue, keeps skin moisturized, produce necessary bodily fluids, such as tears and saliva, and remove waste through sweat, urination, and stool. Infants and young children are more at risk of becoming dehydrated. Encouraging adequate fluid intake is important. Infants have a higher percentage of their body weight as fluids. This places them at a higher risk of developing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Infants less than 12 months of age, should receive ALL fluids from breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula. They should only be provided added water if approved by a pediatrician.
Young children have difficulty communicating their thirst and rely on adults to provide them with adequate fluids. It is important to encourage children over 12 months of age to rely on water to help meet much of their fluid needs. Children who learn to drink water at a younger age, have been shown to continue to drink water as they mature and are less likely to rely on sugary beverages to meet their fluid needs. Encourage water intake at your center in addition to milk to meet fluid needs. Offer small amounts of water multiple times throughout the day. Talk to children about thirst and how to notice signs of thirst to help them better manage and care for their bodies. Fluid plays an important role in bowel management. Children who stay well hydrated have been shown to have better bowel patterns.