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No. You shouldn't give your newborn water or sugar water. And if you're feeding powdered or concentrated formula to your baby, never dilute it with more than the amount of water called for on the label.
Your infant will get all the necessary hydration from breast milk or formula. Even when a mother's milk supply is just coming in during the first few days after delivery, the baby is getting colostrum, which is enough to keep her well hydrated.
Water can interfere with a young baby's ability to absorb the nutrients in breast milk or formula and, because it can make her feel full, it may prevent her from feeding as much as she should.
Giving water to an infant can also cause water intoxication, a serious condition that happens when too much water dilutes the concentration of sodium in the body, upsetting the electrolyte balance and causing tissues to swell. It's uncommon but serious, potentially causing seizures and even a coma.
If a young baby needs more hydration – because of a bout of gastroenteritis, for example – the doctor may recommend an electrolyte drink like Pedialyte or Infalyte.
You may have heard of researchers using sugar water to pacify babies during immunizations. While this practice might safely be used during a medical procedure, giving your baby sugar water at home (whether in an effort to pacify her or quench her thirst) isn't a good idea. She doesn't need the water, and the sugar isn't good for her.
Read more about when your baby can drink water.
Read more about what kind of water to use for formula.