Babies suffering water intoxication.
An editorial on the article cited above stated, "In countries
like the United States, breastfeeding, though always desirable,
doesn't mean the difference between good and poor nutrition--or
life and death." But an Associated Press article reports that water
intoxication, which can kill infants by swelling their brains, has
increased sharply because poor parents who run out of formula give their
babies too much water. The article states, "Welfare babies who are
not breastfed are especially at risk, according to pediatricians at St.
Louis Children's Hospital, where 24 cases of water intoxication
were treated within the past three years."
Nearly all the infants were given water after canned formula ran
out, reported the study which appeared in the September 1991 issue of
the American Journal of Diseases in Children. When too much water is
ingested over too short a time, brain cells can swell, causing seizures,
irregular breathing and death.