When it comes time to give your baby water, many parents ask if they can give their baby distilled water. 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?
Distilled water is one of the safest forms of water to drink because it has been vaporized and condensed back to liquid.
All of its initial impurities have been taken out by the process of distillation, which boils the water and then collects the steam into a sterile reservoir. Distilled water has no taste and contains no minerals.
Can I Give My Baby Distilled Water? Answer: Yes, after 6 months.
Some stores sell distilled water in gallon-sized jugs specifically for babies. These brands can usually be found in the baby aisles of grocery stores, pharmacies or big box stores. However, if you are looking to save some money, these stores also sell gallon-sized jugs of distilled water in the regular water aisle.
They may not have a baby-friendly name, but rest assured, it is still the exact same water, and it can save you around 30 cents per gallon. It may not seem like much, but when you use at least one gallon per week, the savings add up.
What Does the ADA Recommend?
The American Dental Association recommends not using water that contains high levels of fluoride when mixing powdered or concentrated formulas. Too much fluoride puts babies at risk for enamel fluorosis, a condition that develops while teeth are forming. While enamel fluorisis is not a disease, it can result in faint white lines, spots or areas on permanent teeth. Distilled water, like purified, deionized, demineralized or water prepared by reverse osmosis, is known to be low in fluoride.
Aside from mixing it with formula, babies do not need to consume water until at least six months of age. For babies that are strictly breastfed, there is no need for water supplementation. If it is very hot outside, and you are worried about dehydration, it is recommended that the mother increase their water supply, which will inevitably increase the baby’s intake. For bottle-fed babies, small amounts of water are okay to give a child, but no more than 2 to 3 ounces.
Wait Until After 6 Months
Water should not be given to babies under six months of age. A baby’s stomach is small, and too much water will fill them up quickly. This will result in a baby not taking their formula or breast milk, which is essential to a baby, as those are his or her main source of nutrients. During the months before starting solid foods, the amount of water already present in breast milk and formula is exactly what your baby needs to grow and replace what they lose through urine.
Don’t Overdo It
Giving your baby too much water may lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication, which can also be referred to as water poisoning, hyper-hydration, or hyponatremia, and can sometimes lead to fatal disturbances in the in brain function that results when normal levels of electrolytes usually found in the body go beyond the limits due to consuming too much water. Every time a baby urinates, he or she loses water, sodium and electrolytes. If a baby takes on too much water, their sodium levels will drop. When sodium levels in a baby’s body plummet, it can cause lead to them being irritable, swelling of the brain, their being unresponsive and even seizures.
Water intoxication is high if a baby is losing water and electrolytes through diarrhea. If a child is becoming dehydrated, it is best to replace their lost fluids with a rehydration solution such as Pedialyte. The risk of water intoxication is also high if formula is diluted with too much water. So don’t skimp on the formula to try to save some money.
After the immune system has matured and once baby starts solid foods, water is the very best additional beverage after formula or breast milk. Along with solids and their regular formula or breast milk feedings, babies can have 2 to 4 ounces of water between feedings, especially in hot weather.
Distilled water is perfectly fine to give your baby when mixing with formula. Again, giving water to a child under six months old is unnecessary. After your baby starts solids, water does make a great additional beverage to formula or breast milk. If you have any questions about giving your baby distilled water, be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician for advice.