Hazards of Diluting Baby Formula: Water Intoxication

During these hard economic times, families are having to live on less and do without on basic essentials. Dollars are being stretched as far as they can and corners are cut to survive. Some of the corners are by eating more processed foods, which are cheaper, than on essential nutrient foods such as fruits and vegetables. Another corner being cut is with baby formula.Baby formula is expensive. And it is essential food for the infant. To make the formula last, some families are adding more water to the mix than instructed to make the formula last longer. This causes severe consequences to the baby. The baby is getting more water than recommended and not enought nutrients, known as water intoxication. The added water dilutes the blood and lowers the levels of the baby’s electrolytes: potassium and sodium.

Water intoxication is more commonly seen in athletes who sweat a lot and drink more water to replenish the water loss. With the sweat loss, though, electrolytes are also lost. Plain water does not replenish the lost electrolytes. That is why Powerade and/or Gatorade is used among the athletes. It helps in re-balancing the electrolyte levels.

Water intoxication is also more common in poorer countries where basic food is scarce. Parents try to stretch out the baby formula and make it last longer, not knowing the hazards of doing this.

Hazards of water intoxication is severe abdominal pain and seizures and intereference in the infant’s development. Without prompt hospital care, death can result.

The cost of baby formula is expensive. But if you need help, there are government programs out there to help you: WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) program is designed for low-income families that are at risk for nutrition. Food pantries and Food banks offer baby formula. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better know as Food Stamps program, is also another resource for low-income or no-income families. Also, check out local and state assistance programs for your area. Help is out there for you.

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