Dad torn between wife and mother over newborns drinking water debate

A recent TikTok upload from a man on a “fatherhood journey” featuring his wife and their two-month-old baby, and a family quarrel about giving very young children water, has been receiving a lot of attention on the platform.

Whether or not it’s OK to give water to a baby isn’t the sort of question people consider until parenthood, and parents are bound to find themselves under flak for all sorts of essentially harmless things. But the video in question shows just how many people have got a strong opinion on it. Besides, it’s an issue worth exploring.

Catherine Delahaye
Copyright Catherine Delahaye

Man is torn between mother and wife with opposing views on giving water to newborns

Sergey has a following of nearly 53K on TikTok, where he posts about his “fatherhood journey” and parenting as a dad.

In one of his recent uploads, his wife coos and plays gently with their two-month-old baby. But the tranquility of the video content belies the tension he says his family is experiencing.

“My wife forbids giving water to our two-month-old baby because she read on Google that it should not be done,” reads the onscreen text.

“On the other hand,” reads the next caption, “my mother insists that newborns should be given water from birth, as she did with her children and grandchildren.”

Fellow TikTokers weigh in with wisdom of their own

One of the top comments comes from a self-proclaimed father of four. He says unequivocally that “trusting your wife on this one is best for your kids and your marriage.”

It sounds like he knows from experience. Someone who self-identifies as a labor and delivery nurse certainly does when she says “no water”: “newborns get the water from their milk.”

Another offers the quote, “Never let the family you came from destroy the family you chose to create.”

Others have entered the fray quite vociferously, with statements that giving water to newborns is “insane” and that children should “NEVER” – all in capital letters – drink water “until they are eating veggies/fruits/meats with meals.”

Find the video below.

‘Did you have a baby with your mum or your wife?’

This question is probably not intended entirely seriously, but it captures a sentiment expressed among several other comments.

Namely, that the mother of the child holds greater authority over the parenting of that child than the mother of the father.

“I have a newborn,” writes one user. “And if my gorgeous partner who stays up all night breastfeeding says ‘no water’ then no f****** water.”

And another, from a different kind of personal experience: “This is a very sore subject with a lot of women in the comments. I vividly remember every time my mother-in-law tried to undermine me through my husband. These are memories you do not want to make.” 

For what it’s worth, the NHS recommends introducing water to your baby from a cup or beaker “from around 6 months,” offering “sips of water with meals.”

“Once your baby has started to eat solid foods (from around 6 months) you can offer them sips of water from a cup or beaker with meals. Drinking water for babies over 6 months does not need to be boiled first.”

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