This article covers everything you need to know about distilled water for your baby, when babies can drink distilled water, and if it is even safe for them to take distilled water. If you are ready to learn more, then let’s dive in!
Breast milk is only sufficient for a short while. As your baby grows, they would need to drink water and take other baby formulas. Many parents are confused if this is healthy or not? The baby’s developing immune system is still too weak to resist attack from pathogens in some tap waters. Hence, serving the baby distilled water seems like the only available option.
Distilled water is very clean. This gives parents a bit of confidence. But, distilled water can still pose serious harm to your baby. Now, you must be wondering, what then do you give your baby? In this article, we would be discussing the reasons why distilled water is harmful along with the age range in which it is safe for drinking.
Is Distilled Water Safe for Babies?
It’s difficult to give a direct yes or no as an answer. Distilled water can be safe or dangerous for babies. The process of making distilled water guarantees that the water is free of germs. However, it can cause issues like enamel fluorosis where the water was treated with fluorine. This is characterized by the presence of whitish lines on the baby’s teeth.
Also, some minerals may be absent in distilled water. The baby’s formula is expected to contain the adequate minerals its body needs but then, what is the essence of drinking mineral-free water?
The safety of distilled water is directly linked to the method of preparation. Some methods involve the use of fluorine but at normal levels. Waters obtained from this purification method can not lead to enamel fluorosis. Based on that, we can say distilled water is safe.
The fear of the kind of procedures used in water purification makes some parents resort to tap water. And well-treated tap water is supposed to be sufficient. But, from water quality tests, it has been proven that water supplied in some US states is not baby-friendly. Meaning, it contained contaminants that could affect the baby’s health. Adults who take this water may not have health issues.
Parents are advised to seek the advice of a doctor, dentist, or both before giving their child tap water. Do not rely on distilled water as it may not be hundred percent clean and could contain an excess amount of fluorine. Also, boiling tap water does not guarantee that all contaminants that exist are destroyed.
Consider taking a sample of your tap water to a microbiologist or quality control professional. From the quality assessment, you can decide if the water is safe for your baby’s consumption or not. Distilled water can be the best alternative available too. Do a thorough survey around and understand the processes the companies use in purifying the water. You can ask other parents to recommend brands they have used and trust. Either way, nothing beats personal research.
Can Babies Drink Distilled Water?
Of course. Babies can drink distilled water if it is purchased from a trusted brand or distilled at home. The water should be allowed to cool down before your baby drinks it.
Aside from that, parents need to also monitor the amount of water the child is given. Babies below the age of one need very little water. The level of hydration their body gets from breast milk and infant formulas is okay for them.
Giving your baby water at this age can create room for certain diseases. Signs you are giving your child water they do not need include drowsiness, fatigue, muscle cramps. At this point, it’s best to cease the water and see a doctor.
Babies should clock the age of one before consuming a cup of water daily. From research, it was shown that babies between ages one and three need as much as four cups of water per day. Their activities often leave them tired and dehydrated so the extra water serves as a replacement for what is lost.
Babies can drink domestically distilled or industrial distilled water when needed. The important thing is that the water is contaminant-free and chemical-free.
Can Babies Drink Distilled Water With Formula?
Babies can drink formula prepared with distilled water because it is pure. Issues that may arise from this are linked to the water quality and concentration.
It is not enough to buy just any kind of distilled water. Sometimes companies prepare the ones for babies separately. Ask your local supplier to send you the one specifically for babies. This type tends to be safer. If you are unable to get a company that prepares separate water for babies, boil the regular one for about two minutes. This should eliminate any existing contamination. Resist the urge to boil for a longer period as this exposes the water to more microorganisms. Allow it to cool before use.
The need for extra caution declines as your baby grows older. This is not to say water quality can be compromised but it increases the pool of sources you can pick from. For example, some experts advise parents to boil already distilled water when preparing baby formula if the baby is younger than six months. For babies older than six months, well-treated tap water may not need further boiling.
As stated above, distilled water from some sources contains a high amount of fluorine. In this case, mixing distilled water and the formula is a bad idea. The fluoride content of each water bottle should be confirmed before purchase and use.
Tap water can be distilled domestically before mixing with formula. Domestic distillation is simple, just boil for a few minutes in a covered and sterile medium. The water supplies are constantly assessed by water control experts but boiling it makes it safer for your baby. That said, the baby has to be older than six months before you can resort to tap water in preparing its formula.
Water from wells in our apartments can be used in preparing formulas too. Although, it has to be distilled properly. Tap water distillation can last a few minutes but well water needs to be boiled for a longer time. Generally, the quality of water from wells is poor compared to the others. It gets polluted easily and some contaminants resist boiling.
Aside from microbe contaminants, minerals like nitrates, Copper, Aluminum, and selenium are present in macro quantities. Has the concentration of the water been tested along with its quality? If it meets the current standard, feel free to use it after proper boiling. But before doing this, consult a doctor.
When Can Babies Drink Distilled Water?
Breast milk and regular baby formulas provide your baby with all the water it needs. This is why doctors tell parents to wait till their babies are up to six months before giving them water. Water sounds harmless so many parents think it can not cause any harm but it can.
Giving your baby water before six months can lead to Diarrhoea, eating disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.
Even after your baby turns six months, only a little water should be given, sip-like quantities. Your baby may not need so much water until it starts to eat solid foods that adults eat. Still, a few baby-sized cups per day should meet its body’s needs.
Babies suffer from dehydration just like adults. This happens whenever the baby is sick or the temperature in your region has increased. Signs of dehydration include a dry tongue, fatigue and crankiness. If you suspect this in babies below six months, feed them with extra breast milk. Water will do more harm than good. For babies older than six months, a slight increase in the water given should solve this. Where the dehydration persists, consult your baby’s doctor to get some direction on how to handle the situation.
Parents should be mindful of giving babies too much water. Their bodies do not know how to maintain an internal balance. This can lead to having a condition known as hyponatremia where the sodium composition of the blood becomes very low. Babies that start drinking distilled water before they get to six months face a greater risk of experiencing this.
It is characterized by headaches, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and even seizures. This is not a condition that should be self-diagnosed. If you notice all of these symptoms, rush to a nearby hospital. Your baby will be given the right medications to help restore balance in its internal environment. In most cases, electrolytes are injected in the baby. This approach tends to give faster results as it goes to the bloodstream directly.
In conclusion, babies should not be drinking distilled water or any other kind of water before they get to six months. From six months to one year, the baby should be allowed to drink a little quantity daily. It helps them get used to the taste and stay hydrated. After the age of one, the baby is expected to need one to two cups of water daily and the requirement increases as the baby grows older. For younger babies, no water at all is sometimes better than too much, so, parents should guard against this.