The Healthy Newborn Hydration Model: a New Model for Understanding Newborn Hydration Immediately After Birth.

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Peer Reviewed


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Biol Res Nurs

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Biological Research for Nursing

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The normal small volume of breast milk produced in the first 2 days following birth may raise concerns about adequate hydration in breast-fed newborns. These concerns are further magnified when breast-fed infants lose ≥7% of their birth weight within 2 days postnatally. Weight loss following birth is presumably mostly water loss that could result in hypohydration and subsequent hypernatremic dehydration. However, excess fluid loss immediately following birth is a normal and necessary process. Furthermore, newborns exposed to excess fluid intake during labor may need to lose ≥7% of birth weight in the first 2 days following birth in order to achieve euhydration. Normal newborn fluid loss following birth confounds the use of weight loss as the sole measure of newborn hydration. We thus propose the healthy newborn hydration model that highlights the normalcy of newborn weight loss immediately following birth and the healthy newborn's compensatory mechanisms for preserving adequate hydration. We also recommend the use of serum sodium to measure intravascular osmolarity in addition to monitoring weight loss to obtain a more comprehensive newborn hydration assessment. Research is necessary in healthy newborns to identify relationships among fluids received in utero, newborn weight loss, and hydration, as evaluated with laboratory measures, in the first 2 days following birth. This information will guide clinicians in correctly identifying newborns with inadequate hydration who are in need of supplementary fluids versus newborns with adequate hydration for whom exclusive breast-feeding can be supported and encouraged.

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