If you’re new to the subject, you can be forgiven for thinking that all waters are pretty much the same.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case, and there can be significant differences between different types of water.
For many parents, a particular source of confusion is the difference between Nursery and distilled water.
Nursery water is a brand of purified, filtered and ozonized water which is made with and without added fluoride.
Distilled water on the other hand has been boiled and condensed to remove contaminants and minerals.
But which type should you give your baby?
Let’s find out.
What Is Nursery Water
Nursery water is a brand of water that is purified with steam distillation, filtration and ozonation.
The reason for purifying the water this way is to remove impurities and bacteria.
According to the brand, this is the reason for each stage:
- Filtration – eliminates contaminants.
- Steam Distillation – removes remaining impurities by reducing water to H2O.
- Ozonation – disinfects the water
Types Of Nursery Water
There are two types of Nursery Water – with and without fluoride.
Nursery Water With Fluoride
As the name suggests, Nursery Water with fluoride contains added fluoride.
The fluoride level in this variant is up to 0.7 parts per million (ppm).
According to the AAP, fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and strengthen the teeth of young children.
This is because fluoride can slow or stop the formation of cavities by helping to rebuild enamel (the outer layer of a tooth).
Nursery Water Without Fluoride
Nursery Water is also sold without fluoride.
If you want to give your baby nursery water, but live in an area where your local (tap) water has fluoride, then this may be the preferred option for you.
What Is Nursery Water Used For?
Parents who give nursery water to their baby or toddler usually use it in two occasions.
The most common use of Nursery water is mixing with baby formula.
Some parents also like to add it to juice or even cereal.
According to the brand, Nursery water can be safely consumed straight-up by babies over 6 months.
Is Nursery Water Distilled Water?
Yes, in addition to being filtered and ozonized, Nursery water is distilled using steam distillation.
What Is Distilled Water?
Distilled water is a type of water that has undergone a process to remove contaminants and minerals.
The process involves boiling water into a vapour and then condensing it back into a liquid in a separate container.
This process purifies the water and removes both positive and negative minerals.
Can A Baby Drink Distilled Water?
Yes, distilled water is safe to give to babies.
In fact, given distilled water contains no minerals or impurities, and is free from contaminants and bacteria, many parents prefer to use distilled water when making up a bottle of baby formula.
Do I Need To Boil Distilled Water For Baby Formula?
The process of making distilled water involves boiling water into a vapour and then condensing it back into a liquid.
Because distilled water has already therefore already been boiled, there is no need for you to boil it before adding the water to baby formula.
You should keep in mind that tap water on the other hand should be boiled (and then left to cool) before mixing with baby formula.
What Is The Best Water For Baby Formula?
For most parents, the “best” water for your baby will largely depend on your local water source.
You can check the quality of your local water at the EWG tap water database be entering your zip code.
Depending on the results, you should be fine using tap water for mixing with baby formula.
Clearly this will be much more economical than buying bottled water, and very welcome given the cost of baby formula.
There are generally two exceptions to this which you may want to consider further:
High Fluoride Levels
If your tap water contains high levels of fluoride, there is a chance you could be exposing your baby to higher then recommended levels, which could lead to fluorosis.
According to the AAP, fluorosis is a very faint white streak on the teeth, which is usually only noticable by a dentist.
In a mild form, fluorosis is not painful and does not affect the health of your baby’s teeth.
So if your tap water has high fluoride levels, you may want to use bottled water to mix with their formula.
Your Local Water Is Not Fluoridated
The second exception is if your local water in not fluoridated.
If you local water does not have fluoride, then it may be worth speaking to your pediatrician or dentist to enquire whether your child has a risk of developing cavities.
If this is the case, then you may want to consider using water with added fluoride.
However, it’s worth noting that this is not the only solution, because children can also be prescribed fluoride drops or tablets, which may save you money compared to buying Nursery or other bottled water.