When it comes time to give your baby bottled water, or when deciding which type of water to mix with formula, it can be a very stressful topic. With so many choices—pure, distilled, mineral, tap—how do you know which to choose?
First off, it is important to know that babies do not need water alone. Before your child is over six months of age, he or she does not need to consume any supplemental water or juice. All of the liquid your child needs to be healthy and to quench thirst is their regular consumption of breast milk or formula. Giving your baby water before they are six months of age could result in an over-consumption of water, or water poisoning.
Even after your child is six months of age, they still do not need to consume much supplemental fluids. Some doctors may recommend giving your child water or juice just to become introduced to new liquids, but they should only be introduced to your child when he or she is old enough and after you first consult with your child’s doctor. Water is also known to make the stomach feel full, so a child that gets filled up on water may be more reluctant to take a bottle or breast at feeding time.
Can I Give My Baby Bottled Water? Answer: Distilled is Best
If your child is formula fed, and you are using water to mix with their formula, bottled water is perfectly safe to use. Bottled water does come in many forms, and it is important to choose a distilled bottle water if possible. Distilled water is best for babies because it has been “cleaned” from any impurities. After your baby is six months old, though, mixing his or her formula with regular tap water is also perfectly fine. By this age, your child’s immune and digestive systems are ready to be introduced to new items.
Make sure to check the labels on your bottled water before giving it to your child. You want to stay away from any bottled water that is high in fluoride. As a young baby, fluoride can be harmful to your baby’s developing teeth.
Once your baby has started solid food, he or she will be ready to have small amounts of supplemental liquid, but no more than 2-3 ounces. Water is the best type of supplemental liquid because it does not contain any harsh ingredients. It is also healthy for your child to consume, and it is very easy on their digestive system. Water is a better choice than juice, as the sugars in fruit juice can be harmful to your child’s health.
Water Not Really Needed
Always remember, though, that even though your baby may be old enough for supplemental liquids, formula and/or breast milk should remain your child’s main source of vitamins and nutrients until after his or her first birthday. Other foods and liquids cannot provide the same amount of nutritional value as breast milk or formula.
When purchasing bottled water from the store, you can buy smaller cases of bottled water or you can buy gallon-sized jugs. Either one is fine and perfectly healthy for your baby. Also, these bottled waters are the same as “nursery” waters, they just do not have the baby-friendly name or label.
So remember, bottled water is perfectly fine to use to mix with formula before your child is six months old. Until then, your child does not need to consume any additional supplemental liquids, as breast milk and/or formula provide all the liquids they need. After your child is six months old, you can start giving them small amounts of water with meals.
Make sure to choose a bottled water that is low in fluoride, as high fluoride levels can cause permanent damage to your chlid’s developing teeth. Even though your child’s digestive system is not strong enough to have water, remember that breast milk and/or formula are still the main source of nutrients, so do not overfeed your child on water. Plus, too much water can cause your child to be full and not want to take the breast milk or formula at feeding time. And too much water can also be dangerous for your child.
As always, if you have any questions about bottled water, what kind to give your child, how much to give your child, or when you can give it to them, it is always best to consult with your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to discuss your concerns and answer your questions in more thorough detail.