Bottled Water For Babies: When Can They Drink It And How Does It Differ From Baby Water?

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Consider this scenario: you’re out with your infant on a warm, bright day, and they are thirsty, but you’ve forgotten your baby’s water bottle at home. So, when you have no other choice, you go to a store and buy bottled water. But is it safe to drink bottled water for babies? If you have concerns about giving bottled water to their babies, dive into this post as we answer all your questions about the safety of bottled water for newborns.

Can Babies Drink Bottled Water?

Yes, you can give bottled water to babies after they are older than six months (1). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that you can give low-fluoride bottled water to your baby when it is necessary (2).

The UK Government’s National Health Service (NHS), however, states that you should boil the bottled water before using it to make infant formula for your baby (3). This is because the bottled water may not be sterile and may contain too much sulfate or sodium.

Quick fact
Feeding water to babies under six months of age may lead to reduced breast milk or formula intake, affecting the baby’s growth and overall health (7).

Bottled water is safe but which type should you choose?

Types Of Bottled Water

There are three types of bottled water: mineral water, packaged drinking water, and distilled water (4).

  • Mineral water contains high quantities of total dissolved minerals. These minerals could be present naturally in the water extracted from the ground (groundwater) or taken from a natural underground spring (spring water). Alternatively, a manufacturer may add minerals that make the water tasty and good for health as well.
Mineral water is extracted from the ground or natural underground spring

Image: Shutterstock

  • Packaged drinking water goes by several names such as packaged water, purified water or packaged purified water. Sourced from lakes, rivers, or even public taps, the water goes through UV treatment and reverse osmosis for improved taste. Packaged drinking water contains a few natural minerals that give the water its distinct flavor.
  • Distilled water is water in its purest form, without the presence of any dissolved gases or minerals. It is seldom sold for dietary consumption and is used for industrial purposes. It tastes bland.

Therefore, when you buy bottled water in the supermarket, it is most likely to be mineral water or packaged drinking water.

What Are The Bottled Water Requirements For Babies?

Bottled water for babies should have less sodium, sulfate and fluoride content

Image: Shutterstock

According to the US FDA and the NHS, bottled water for babies should meet the following requirements:

  • Less sodium: The sodium (Na) content should be less than 250mg per liter of water.
  • Low sulfate: Less than 250mg of sulfate (SO4) in a liter of water.
  • Select “low-fluoride” versions: Most packaged drinking water, even those with added minerals, have an average of 0.11mg of fluoride per liter or ppm (parts per million), which is safe for babies. If a version with a lesser level of fluoride is available, then that can be your choice.

Can You Boil Bottled Water?

Yes, you can boil bottled water, although it may not be necessary if it is manufactured by a reliable brand.

Boiling water is good if you are not sure of the quality of the water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and continue boiling for a minute to ensure that the germs are killed. Since boiling may not be an option when traveling with a baby, it is best to buy bottled water from a trusted place and brand.

Can Bottled Water Replace Tap Water?

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that tap water is good enough and there is no need to choose bottled water unless tap water contains known contaminants (5). Choose bottled water when you do not have access to clean tap water.

Point to consider
Bottled water may contain undesirable chemicals that might leach out from the plastic into the water, posing a threat to the baby’s health (5).

What Is The Difference Between Baby Water And Bottled Water?

Baby water, also sometimes called nursery water, is bottled water packaged specifically manufactured for babies. Baby water is similar to regular bottled water, and there is no substantial difference between the two.

Can You Use Bottled Water For Baby Formula?

Use bottled water for making infant formula

Image: Shutterstock

Yes, you can use bottled water for making infant formula. Experts state that it is safe to use bottled water for preparation of infant formula, provided it is sterile or boiled for at least one minute (6). If the bottled water is labeled as ‘sterile’ by the manufacturer and meets the FDA standards, you can use it to prepare infant formula without boiling it further.

Bottled water for babies is safe if the baby is about the age of six months, and it is packaged as drinking water with minerals. However, it is advised that you carry your little one’s bottle and boiled water along with you while taking them out for a stroll or a walk to reduce the incidences of having bottled water and also ensure that your baby remains hydrated. It is also essential that, if need be, you buy the water from a reliable brand so that you do not have doubts about its constituents and purity.

Infographic: What Are The Bottled Water Requirements For Babies?

When it comes to babies, you need to be extra cautious of the food and beverages they consume, even something as plain as water. So if you are using bottled water in their meals and formulas, check out the infographic below for a safety checklist to prevent your baby from experiencing health issues.

bottle safety water for your baby [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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