Mineral water is commonly available these days and contains various minerals, salts and sulphur compounds. Most people whose water source is contaminated or those who are travelling prefer to use this water as it is believed to be safe. But how safe is it for babies? Whatever, we give babies—even if it as basic as water, we need to first know if it is ok for them to consume, given their age. Sometimes, it is possible that consuming a certain type of water could be a source of problem in children. Hence, it is always best to exercise caution.
Is Bottled Water For Babies Unsafe?
It is very essential that babies and young children have enough fluids for better health and well-being. Water is considered the healthiest fluid available. A high proportion of babies and young children’s body weight is water– so it’s important to keep them properly hydrated. Do you know?
- 75% of a new born baby’s body is water
- It drops to 65% of their body weight by the first birthday
- Water is essential for growing teeth and milk and water are considered best drinks for growing children
Contrary to popular belief, bottled water could prove to be an unhealthy option for babies. Here’s why-
- It is believed that bottled water contains fluoride. It is true that fluoride is present in some foods that children may take and even in the toothpaste they use, but an excess of fluoride could result in enamel fluorosis. This could cause white spots in those tiny teeth that are still forming in the gums. Moreover, some bottles do not indicate the fluoride concentrate in their labels, which adds to the risk. They do mention that it is purified, deionized, distilled and prepared using reverse osmosis, which is indicative of low fluoride, yet one can never be too sure of it, especially when it comes to using it for babies
- Contrary to popular belief, bottled water is not actually sterile. It definitely is low in lead when compared to water from the tap, yet it could also contain traces of bacteria that could be unsafe for your baby
- Bottled water could also contain high levels of uranium, which are not safe for the kidneys. Therefore, it is best to avoid it while making formula milk as well
Precautions While Travelling With Babies
There are times when you need to travel and your baby needs to be bottle-fed. During those times, mineral water may be the safest option available to use. In such times, you may opt for it. However, make sure of the following:
- The seal of the bottle is not tampered with
- If your baby is below 6 months, it is a good idea to boil it and cool it before using it. Use boiled water at a temperature of at least 70 degrees if you are using it for a feed. That way you can be rest assured that it is safe
- If you are travelling to a place which has very hot climate, then your baby may need extra fluid to keep him hydrated all the time and this can be provided by boiled, cooled bottled water as mentioned above
- Check the label for fluoride content. Make sure that it contains less than 200 mg of sodium and not more than 250mg a liter of sulphate
- If you are using bottled water for your baby’s formula feed, never let anyone else drink from the bottle
Water For Babies Below 6 Months
For the first 6 months, babies are exclusively on breast milk. That takes care of their complete nutritional requirement and there is no need to give anything externally, not even water. At this stage if you give water it could lead to water intoxication because the little one’s kidneys are not able to manage the water overload. Post-six months, once babies start on solid foods, they can have small amounts of water externally. At this stage, water is better than juices which contain sugar that are best avoided.
Which Mineral Water Is Safe For Babies?
Many doctors across the globe suggest that distilled water is the safest. But in India, it is not a much preferred option. If mineral water is to be used it must be free of sodium. Avoid carbonated water; it could cause discomfort to your baby’s digestive system. When in doubt, it is always best to consult your doctor before making a decision.
Mineral water could be a choice for your babies if you choose the right one. Make sure you decide before hand and are well prepared, especially when you are travelling. There are some brands of bottled water available in the market that is designed to be exclusively used for preparing baby formula. These brands pack the bottled water following much stricter guidelines which are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Check with your doctor and stock those brands that fulfill the conditions mentioned above. In India, using tap water is completely out of question. You could use boiled and cooled filtered water, if that is the only alternative you have at the moment. When it comes to your baby, every single thing that goes into the diet, including the water has to be carefully selected. Because every day the child is growing, one wrong choice could land you in trouble. So, research well, plan ahead and stay safe.
We hope this article gave you valuable insight into using mineral water for your baby. Do Share your experience in the comments box below. Happy parenting!