Is distilled water okay for babies?

My cousin is giving her baby distilled water to drink and mixing it with formula. Is this o.k?. I have heard it is not good to give them distilled water to drink, but I didn't know for sure or for what reason. I give my baby regular bottled drinking water, not our city tap water. I have heard that our city water is good and safe to drink, but I am still paranoid. Do you have any opinions on this matter?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Pam,

I have not heard that distilled water is not good for babies to drink.

Distilled water is one of the safest forms of water to drink because it has been vaporized and condensed back to liquid. It contains no minerals, and consequently, no taste. The other safest drinking water is water filtered by reverse osmosis. ( I am assuming that your cousin is mixing dry formula with the water and not diluting a ready-to-feed formula.) Formula contains all the vitamins and minerals baby needs so the lack of minerals in the water should be of no consequence. There are no laws requiring bottled water to be safer than city water.

City water is usually tested more often than bottled water to ensure its safety. All the reading and research I have done on bottled water has shown that municipal water supplies are as safe to drink as bottled waters. After that it comes down to taste preference. Many people do not like the taste of their tap water, probably because it contains chlorine. Bottled water uses a different method to sanitize their water that does not have a flavor like chlorine does.

If you have well water, or live in a house with lead pipes, than you should test your water for safety, either for ground water contamination or dissolved lead from the pipes. You can contact the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 for more information, or to learn how to test your water for lead content.

Thank you for writing.

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