The human body is made up of about 50-75 percent water, so you might be thinking that it is perfectly fine for your baby to drink water as regularly as you do. Surprisingly, little ones do not need water for the first couple of months of life, and even when H2O is added into their diet, they usually only need or want a sip or two.
But there are some moments when offering up water is unavoidable, like when you need to make the baby formula on the move or are traveling. When this happens, is it better to buy bottled water or boil water? Is bottled water even safe? Can babies drink it without getting sick?
Let’s find out.
Can Babies Drink Bottled Water?
First off, babies do not need to drink water right away. Before starting with solid foods, babies get all the hydration they require from breastmilk and/or infant formula. Only give bottled water to a baby that is 6 months or older. Once your baby is drinking water, offer only little bits at a time from a sippy cup.
After 6 months, your little one will need between 4-6 ounces of water per day, which is about ½ a cup. Always check with a pediatrician before starting your baby on water.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also states that low-fluoride bottled water can be used with babies only when absolutely necessary. On the other hand, the UK National Health Service (NHS) says that boiling bottled water is best if you need to use it for baby formula. Boiling cleans out any impurities.
Types of Bottled Water
Not all bottled water is the same. Knowing the different kinds can help you choose which bottled water to pick up for your baby.
- Packaged drinking water. Also known as purified water, this comes from rivers, lakes, and public tap. This water has undergone treatment, such as reverse osmosis filtration or UV treatment, to clean it and improve the flavor.
- Mineral water. It contains high amounts of dissolved minerals that are naturally present in underground springs and groundwater. Generally good for health.
- Distilled water. Pure water with no impurities or dissolved minerals and gases. It is rarely used for dietary needs.
Can I Use Bottled Water For Baby Formula?
Bottled water is better than nothing, but it is not recommended for use when mixing up infant formula. Usually, bottled water is not entirely sterile, and it may contain sodium and sulfates.
Check Sodium and Sulfate Levels
Sometimes, using bottled water is unavoidable. You might need to pick up a bottle for your baby if:
- Your regular drinking water is contaminated
- You are traveling to a country where local water cannot be consumed
In both these scenarios, bottled water is obviously the better choice. Be sure to check the label on the bottle to see if it contains
- Less than 200 mg per liter of sodium
- Less than 250 mg per liter of sulfates (sometimes written as SO4 or sulfate)
- Select “low-fluoride” versions. Most mineral water only has about 0.11 mg per liter of fluoride, which is safe for babies to drink.
There was once a time when infant formula instructions asked you to boil water. However, in more present times, the formula may direct you to ask your pediatrician instead of boiling water when prepping to feed your baby. Depending on your situation, it may not be necessary.
You should also check with the local government or health department to see if unboiled tap water is safe for baby formula.
Remember, you should never dilute infant formula with too much water. Giving babies too much water is dangerous since they can easily become intoxicated with water. Follow the directions on the baby formula precisely. If you are unsure, ask a doctor.
Fluoridated and Well Water For Baby Formula
Whether you have city water or well water, it is always a good idea to get the quality of the water tested. Water that contains high levels of fluoride, for instance, is not always a good thing, especially for young babies. Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, which discolors the teeth with streaks of white on the enamel. This imperfection develops when permanent teeth are forming under the gums, so you should avoid high levels of fluoride from the beginning.
As for well water, you simply cannot boil it and think it’s okay for consumption. Wellwater sometimes contains nitrates and iron that doesn’t go away with boiling. In fact, boiling could cause the concentration to become higher.
What Is Baby Water (Nursery Water)?
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t or don’t want to use water from the tap and need bottled water, you can always search for baby water, also known as nursery water.
Baby water is made specifically for babies. It is very similar to low fluoride bottled water that has been demineralized, deionized, and is prepared via reverse osmosis. In fact, you might find there is hardly any difference between nursing water and certain brands of purified bottled water.
While drinking water quickly becomes a vital source of hydration in babies 6 months and older, it is not necessary for infants. However, if you are giving your baby formula instead of breastfeeding, you might find yourself in a situation where tap water is unavailable. When this happens, you don’t have to worry. You can use bottled water. Just check the minerals present first and boil it if necessary.
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