Like most first-time parents, I assumed that since the jug on the shelf had the phrase “Nursery Water” on it and an adorable baby face on the label, it was something I should purchase for baby formula.
After all, if it wasn’t a necessity for my baby, why was it on the aisle endcap at Target? I can hear you laughing from here.
As if everything promoted on the endcaps of Target are a necessity. (The exception is the Magnolia collection of housewares. Those are clearly a necessity.)
Perhaps you are just as lost as I was, trying to decide how to gauge your next parenting guilt-trip. Is nursery water something you really need to purchase? Or is that money better spent on some brain-boosting toys instead?
Let me break all the guilt into smaller truth-bites for you.
What are the Different Types of Nursery Water?
How is Your Tap Water?
Let’s Find Out.
The big elephant in the room you have to address before you start looking about purchasing nursery water for your baby, is to take a long hard look at what’s coming out of your tap.
Don’t worry, because living in the 21st Century is freaking awesome, you don’t have to buy any special strips or testing kits.
If you are on a municipal water supply (i.e. not well water) You just need one piece of information, and it’s a doozy. I hope you’ve been keeping meticulous records, or you’re totally screwed. Ready?
Your zip code.
I’ll give you a few minutes to go file-flipping and search for those elusive five numbers…
Got it? Great. Go here and put it in. Then select your local waterworks and see what it says.
First of all, try not to freak out too much…yet. No tap water is going to be completely clean. (Unless you are living in a small village in the Alps, and if you are…how do you feel about visitors? 😉 )
Your “magic number” of acceptability is going to look different than mine.
If you are seeing a large number of contaminants, it may be worth considering a filtering system in your home, or at least picking up one of the nursery water options below. Let your budget be your guide in determining whether or not you need to set aside special funds for more “pure” water.
Old Home…Old Pipes
Besides the quality of water in your community, you also have to think through the quality of water in your specific home.
Once the water arrives at your home, it has to go through a series of pipes to actually end up at the end of your faucet. If you have an older home with original or dated plumbing, it may be worth getting a purification system to avoid any clingy contaminants. (I’m looking at you lead pipes!)
A Breakdown of Terminology:
Know Thy Waters
Before we jump into figuring out which (if any) nursery water is best for your family, let’s make sure you know what the different terms actually mean. (See the “WeLove Citations” section at the bottom for links.)
What Exactly is Mineral Water?
Mineral water contains dissolved minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc. People who choose this are looking for additional minerals in their diet. Some companies will add gasses to make it “sparkling” and bubbly. It usually comes from underground reservoirs and does not get processed
What Exactly is
Spring Sneaky Water?
Spring water contains almost the same spectrum of nutrients and minerals as regular tap water. The only main difference is that sometimes it has chlorine filtered out. When it says 100% “pure” it is referring to the fact that it is 100% pulled from a single source, and not from surface water.
What Exactly is
Filtered Fake Water?
Filtered water is pretty much the same as your tap water. It has been “filtered” using your local water treatment facility, run through carbon filters to remove chlorine (and improve the taste) and then packaged in plastic containers.
What you are really purchasing here is the convenient plastic bottle. The water itself is almost indistinguishable from what’s in your sink.
What Exactly is Distilled Water?
Nursery distilled water uses the steam-distillation process to purify the water using evaporation and condensation. (Remember those terms from 6th grade science?)
Although all distilled water is, in essence, purified water, not all purified water is distilled. That’s because distillation is just one of a variety of purification techniques.
What Exactly is Purified Water?
Purified Water is as close to plain dihydrogen monoxide as you can get. (Remember that from 9th grade science?) Pretty much everything is pulled out using extra steps like reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization.
Which Brings Us Back to Nursery Water
So here we are.
You’re still reading.
This tells me that you think you may need to consider purchasing nursery water for your baby’s formula (or self-use). But which type? Nursery Distilled Water? Or the Fluorinated type?
This leads us to the next question on our quest for answers…
What Exactly is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities in children by helping to strengthen the enamel on the outside of your teeth.
I know, I know.
Your baby doesn’t have teeth.
Yet. Have you checked these signs?
For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to community water sources in the US to fight tooth decay. The recommendation level of fluoride for an adult is 0.7 ppm (parts per million).
Want to check your local fluoride numbers by going here again and putting in your zip code. Click on “Other detected contaminants” and select “fluoride.” It will show you where your local levels are.
Should You Choose the Fluoride Nursery Water?
As most things in parenting, choosing fluorinated nursery water is a decision between you and your pediatrician. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind as you decide.
- Fluorosis is when a child gets too much fluoride in their diet before the age of eight. It leaves permanent white spots on the teeth. The good news is it’s only cosmetic. Still, it’s good to know that, like most things in life, there should be limits.
- If you use well water for your home, it may be worth getting the water tested every few years to see where things stand. Too much lead could be harmful to your child’s development, and knowing where the fluoride level is can help you determine whether to supplement with nursery water. This article shows you how to test your well water.
- If you live outside the US, contact your local city to see what their standards are or consider choosing a different water source to make sure your family is getting the minerals you need (and avoiding bacteria and other contaminants.)
How Much Fluoride Does Your Baby Need?
I’m not going to bore you with the teeny tiny numbers of how much fluoride your baby should have. (This abstract can tell you that.)So let me give you the Cliff Notes.
Since fluoride exists naturally in breastmilk, and it’s added to nearly all formulas, babies under 6 months are getting enough naturally, and should not receive any “supplements” of fluoride (like in nursery water).
Babies older than 6 months probably don’t need extra fluoride but talk it over with your pediatrician to be sure.
The Only Baby Formula Without Added Fluoride
If you’re concerned about giving your baby too much fluoride and seeing those white spots (Fluorosis) show up on their teeth later, you may want to consider using a baby formula that doesn’t contain added fluoride.
According to this list, ALL of the infant formulas (organic, etc.) contain added fluoride. There’s only one formula that doesn’t. That formula is Kabrita Goat Milk Formula.
I am a huge fan of Kabrita Goat Milk Formula for lots of reasons, but the no-added fluoride makes me love them even more. I don’t think fluoride is bad, but I do worry my kids get too much sometimes.
If you haven’t tried them yet, I would highly recommend taking them up on their free sample offer here.
The Take-Away About Nursery Water
Sadly, I have to finish this article with an “it depends” clause. Remember, MightyMoms.club isn’t here to tell you what to do. We are here to provide enough information for you to decide that for yourself.
Be warned, though, there is a LOT of fighting online about fluoride = poison.
Although I’ve read a lot of articles that state “medical research shows,” none of them have actually linked to the scientific research, which is a bummer because I would love to read it. Looking through the JAMA and AAP online abstracts, I wasn’t able to find anything in that vein.
Update: I did find one article that linked a study as evidence to back up their argument, but when I actually read the cited study I discovered it actually said the opposite of what the original author was claiming! Just goes to show, always read the actual citation!
As with most things, use your critical thinking skills to determine whether you should introduce nursery water for your baby or not.
The good news is you have an excellent advocate in your corner.
When in doubt, give Doc a shout!
Have You Read These Yet?
(If Not, You Should)
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We Love Citations!
What are the health benefits of mineral water? MedicalNewsToday.com
Types of Water. DrinkMoreWater.com
Current Fluoride Recommendations for the Pediatric Patient. USPharmacist.com
A Mom’s Guide to Fluoride. MouthHealthy.org
Fluoride Levels of Human Plasma and Breast Milk. NIH.gov
Does Your Infant Formula Contain Fluoride? SafeBabyHealthyChild.com