I have many pet hates. I have a metaphorical menagerie of things that greatly peeve me. However, few get me as worked up as the following well intentioned, but completely misinformed statement: ‘geez it’s hot today, you better give that baby some water’. Grrrr.
Exclusively breastfed babies under the age of 6mths, do NOT need supplementary water. Not even on ridiculously hot days. Clever mother nature provides us with both a watery foremilk to hydrate baby, and a rich creamy hindmilk to fill baby up. On hot days, bubs tend to like short, frequent drinks which gives them plenty of foremilk, and therefore plenty of hydration. Giving young babies water actually gives them a false sense of fullness, and reduces the amount of breast milk they take in for the day.
One of the best pieces of advice I got prior to leaving the hospital was to ignore the advice of people who birthed 30 years ago. I am constantly surprised by how much I agree with this. All mothers can offer advice and support that is useful. However this advice does need to be scrutinized in light of modern research. Many of the parenting strategies of our parents have been shown to be counterproductive and in some cases detrimental. Breastfeeding advice certainly falls in that category.
For practical, research based advice on breastfeeding babies in hot water, see this link