Is it Safe to Give Distilled Water for Babies? If you want to give your baby some water, you may realize there are different types of water. Some are not recommended for kids. While it may not seem like a big deal to use certain kinds, pediatricians advocate distilled water for babies after they have reached six months old.
What is Distilled Water?
I used to think it was crazy that there are different kinds of water. Aren’t they all the same? The short answer is no.
Distilled water is a safe form of water; it was vaporized and condensed back into a liquid form. All of the impurities were taken out during the distillation process. This water has no taste, but it also contains no minerals.
Typically, you can find gallon jugs of distilled water for babies in the nursery aisle. You can also find distilled water in the aisle with bottled water. There is no difference except for the label.
Distilled water, just like demineralized and purified water, is known to have low levels of fluoride.
Why Not Nursery Water?
As you wander through the baby aisle, you are sure to notice gallons of water labeled “nursery water.” You would assume that it is safe for children of all ages, considering it is placed right alongside infant formula and baby food.
If you believe those things, you would be wrong. Nursery water is purified water with extra fluoride added to it. Babies, under the age of six months old, get enough fluoride naturally. They don’t need any supplemental forms, such as nursery water. Fluoride can be found in breastmilk, and formula companies add it to their milk.
- The chances are that your baby who is older than six months doesn’t need extra fluoride. If they are still breastfeeding, they receive small doses every day through their mother’s milk. Otherwise, their formula contains the necessary amount.
If you have well water, you will want to get it tested to see if it contains any levels of fluoride. This may be the only circumstance in which nursery water is a good idea. City water has added fluoride, but well water does not have the necessary levels.
What is the Big Deal about Fluoride?
I am sure you have heard of fluoride, at least from your dentist a few times. Fluoride is an element you would find on the Periodic Table. Human-made versions are made in laboratories and added to public drinking water to prevent tooth decay.
However, there are good and bad sides to fluoride.
In the appropriate amounts, fluoride is safe.
- If too much is given, the effects can be harmful. Instead of working towards fixing tooth decay, an excess of fluoride in our system can lead to fluorosis.
- If you decide to use nursery water to mix your child’s formula, you can increase their chances of fluorosis. Some babies with sensitive stomach experience an excess of spit up or even vomiting from too much fluoride.
Fluorosis isn’t a disease, but it can cause problems in your teeth. It may result in faint white lines, spots or odd areas on your permanent teeth. Fluorosis can also cause surface irregularities, noticeable pits, and stains ranging from yellow to dark brown. One in every four Americans is affected by it, making it a very common issue.
What Does the ADA Recommend?
- It is important for parents to know what is recommended for babies. The American Dental Association recommends that parents use water that contains low levels of fluoride. They are concerned about putting children at risk for enamel fluorosis because it develops while their teeth are forming.
If your child is under the age of six months old, they don’t need any additional water besides what is used to mix their formula. If your child is breastfed, then they need no water supplementation at all. You may be tempted to give your child water when it is hot outside.
- Doctors recommend that mothers increase their water intake and nurse their baby more frequently. If you bottle-fed, then you may give only small amounts on hot days.
Parents can be baffled by this recommendation. Drinking water is supposed to be good for you!
It is important to remember that your child’s stomach is small, and water can fill them up. They won’t drink as much formula or breastmilk as they need, but they are essential for the proper growth and development. Before you begin solid foods, your child gets all of the liquids they need in breastmilk or formula.
In extreme cases, too much water can lead to water intoxication, which can be lead to water poisoning, hyper-hydration, and other issues with the normal levels of electrolytes.
Without the proper levels of electrolytes and sodium, it can lead to a child feeling irritable, seizures, brain swelling and unresponsiveness. Remember, never give too much water to your baby!
Is Distilled Water for Babies Safe?
- Babies can drink distilled water, but it is not recommended for infants who are under six months old. It lacks all minerals and nutrients because of the distillation process.
If you are using it for your child’s actual hydration, it is not a good choice. Parents can use distilled water to mix formula milk powder or to make baby food. Distilled water is a very pure and safe form of water.
It would be good to check your local public water system and determine the natural fluoride level. If it is 0.7mg/L or higher, you will need to use a low-fluoride alternative water source. Distilled water and other forms of bottled water are an excellent choice if you have higher levels at your home.
There is a lot of information for parents to learn about something so simple: water! It seems as if, when we become a parent, we are overloaded with new information and facts to learn. You may have never known too much fluoride could be an issue.
However, because we want to avoid fluorosis for our kids, you shouldn’t use nursery water to mix formula because it will give your child an excess of fluoride in their system.
If you are concerned about distilled water for babies, you can rest assured that it is safe for your baby. Because it is devoid of minerals, you should avoid using it for hydrating your child, especially on hot days.
However, if you want to use distilled water to mix formula or to make baby food, it is a good choice for kids, especially if you have high fluoride levels of tap water at your home. It is better to opt for distilled water than to give your child an excess of fluoride.