Fluid needs vary from person to person depending on things like how much you sweat, where you live, and your activity level. You may have heard that we should drink 8 cups water/day. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 13 c beverage/day for men and about 9 c/day for women (2). Now before you go start guzzling down 9-13 cups of water, keep in mind that some of our daily fluid needs are met from the foods we eat. Foods like watermelon, lettuce, low-fat dairy products (including yogurt), grapefruit, and broccoli are all high in water content and help you with your hydration. In addition to helping with fluid, these foods are all healthy snack options and provide other important vitamins and minerals for our healthy lifestyles. Check out this link to learn more about those foods and why they are so good at helping with hydration this summer: http://www.eatright.org/public/slideshow.aspx?id=6442470873&terms=water#.U3_AbijwrNg. Drinking 8 cups of water per day is a great way to stay hydrated, but it isn't all the fluid you should be getting!
For all you moms out there that are wondering about how to keep your baby hydrated, keep in mind that newborns rarely need any extra water because they are getting most of their hydration needs covered either through your breast milk or through formula. If your baby is in hot weather or is sweating, then it may be appropriate to offer one or two ounces of plain water after a normal feeding. One of the biggest risks of giving water to babies is that it could fill their little tummies with water instead of the nutrient-packed breast milk or formula they need to grow, so only offer water after they have had breast milk or formula. Ask your doctor if you are concerned that your baby may not be getting enough fluid. If your infant is less than 4 months old, you may consider taking precautions like boiling your water and letting it cool or offering sterilized bottled water instead of tap water. For more information about infant dehydration, visit this website: http://www.eatright.org/kids/article.aspx?id=6442462868&terms=water
(1) Mayo Clinic. Water: How much should you drink every day? Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256. Accessed 05/29/2014.
(2) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. How much water do I need each day? Available at http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442462188&terms=fluid%20needs. Accessed 05/22/2014.