Tap water varies between countries and is not always safe for babies to consume. If you’re wondering whether your baby can drink tap water, keep reading to find out the guidelines for various countries.
We’ll also cover whether babies can drink bottled water, whether you need to be concerned about fluoride consumption and at what age babies should start drinking water regularly.
Can a newborn baby drink tap water?
Before six months, your baby doesn’t need to drink water. If you are breastfeeding, your breast milk will provide everything your baby needs – even in very hot weather. You might notice your baby breastfeeds more often in hot weather to stay hydrated. Those extra feeds will be all the breast milk your baby needs for good hydration.
You might notice you feel thirstier in hot weather, too, so be sure to drink plenty of water.
If your baby is formula feeding, she will not generally need to drink water. However, in very hot weather, you might want to offer your baby a sip of water that has been boiled and then cooled to a safe drinking temperature. However, you must only do this after feeds, so you know your baby has had enough nutrients before offering water.
Giving your baby water first could limit the amount of milk she drinks and affect her growth. To learn more about this, look at Does My Baby Need Water? What You Need To Know.
How long until babies can have tap water?
The age at which your child can have tap water depends on where you live. Countries have different guidelines, depending on the water filtration system and other factors affecting tap water composition.
In Australia, you can offer babies sips of water with meals from six months. However, until their first birthday, this water must have been boiled and then cooled to ensure it is safe for them.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water quality to ensure it is safe to drink. For this reason, you can start offering your baby water straight from the tap when she is six months old.
When your baby reaches six months, it’s generally fine for her to drink tap water in the UK. You won’t need to boil the water beforehand. You can offer a beaker or cup of water with meals when your baby starts drinking water, although she will still drink plenty of breast milk or baby formula.
Can babies drink filtered water from the refrigerator?
It’s usually fine for babies to drink water from a water filter, but it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, you’ll need to keep filtered water in the fridge, because the filter removes some additives to keep tap water fresh and safe to drink. Be sure to check the filter manual before giving filtered water to your baby regularly.
When can I stop boiling water for my baby?
You should boil water and let it cool down before offering it to young babies. Tap water isn’t sterile, so boiling it and allowing it to cool ensures it is safe to drink. You should cool it for no more than 30 minutes, as this will ensure the temperature stays high enough to prevent bacteria.
The length of time before you can stop boiling tap water for your baby depends on where you live. In Australia, you should continue to boil tap water and cool it until your baby is 12 months old. In the US and UK, tap water is safe as drinking water for babies from six months of age.
When can I give my baby tap water in Australia?
In Australia, you will need to boil and cool your baby’s water until she is 12 months old. After 12 months, babies can drink water that has come directly from the tap. Until 12 months, however, it is essential to boil any water and allow it to cool down before offering it to your baby.
Is it ok to use tap water for formula?
You can use tap water to make your baby’s formula milk, but it must be freshly boiled. Boiling water kills any bacteria lurking in the powder, ensuring the infant formula milk is safe for your baby to consume.
You must continue to use boiled water that has cooled for every formula feed, even after your baby turns six months. Make sure you test the temperature of the baby formula milk on your wrist before giving any to your baby.
Bottled water should not be used for making up infant formula feeds because it’s not sterile. Bottled water might also contain too much salt or sulfate for your baby, so it is best avoided.
When should I worry about fluoride in my baby’s water?
Your tap water could contain fluoride, depending on where you live. If you live in the US, Australia or New Zealand, for example, there is a good chance your tap water contains fluoride.
In the UK, however, it varies between counties, so you’ll need to check with your child’s dental care provider. You can contact your water board or local government to find out how much fluoride is in your local water supply.
Fluoride is essential for good oral health, so fluoride exposure is usually seen as positive. It’s safe to make up your baby’s formula milk with fluoridated water. If you live in an area without fluoridated water, your child’s dentist might recommend fluoride supplements, once your baby reaches six months.
Fluoride can also protect your baby’s teeth from tooth decay and cavities, so it is considered an essential aspect of good dental health.
Fluorosis is when too much fluoride causes white spots on the tooth surface. Most cases are very mild, barely noticeable and do not affect dental function. However, most formula milks contain low fluoride levels; if you make up formula milk with fluoridated water, there is a risk of fluorosis.
To avoid this, you could use ready-to-drink formula made with water free from fluoride. Speak to your child’s dentist for advice about fluoride consumption.
Can my baby drink bottled water?
Bottled water is not recommended for babies or toddlers because it can contain high levels of salt or sulfate. The odd sip of bottled water when out and about isn’t going to do much harm but bottled water is not recommended for regular use.
In the US, however, bottled water is considered safe for babies. If you’re unsure, check with your child’s healthcare provider before regularly offering bottled water.
Is it ok to dilute formula milk with water?
No, it’s not safe to overdilute your baby’s formula milk with water. Adding too much water could mean your baby doesn’t get all the nutrients she needs from the milk. Formula milk is carefully prepared to ensure it contains the nutrients babies need to grow healthily. Underdiluting it is no good either; this can lead to constipation. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions when making formula feeds for your baby.