I get google alerts for various things and one of the most flagged topics that comes in relates to a bunch of miss-information circulating on the web relating to babies and tap water and also babies and mineral water.

The defacto position is that in most civilised countries with a decent water infrastructure, clean tap water should be good for a healthy infant over 6 months of age. That’s not to be confused with the need for boiling water when mixing it with infant formula. The formula itself needs to be sterilised, which is why you add boiling water to it.

There’s so much blind advice given to new mums but common sense generally works best, like be sure to run the tap for a while to ensure the water running through is fresh…

Also, it’s a fact that not all tap water is equal and some areas tap water can contain elevated levels of nitrates – mainly in agricultural areas where adequate treatment hasn’t been installed. If your infant is ill, this water may in fact present a risk, depending on where you live, so if in doubt, it can’t harm to boil it until your infant is over a year or strong and healthy again…

The subject of minerals in water is complex, unless you’re a chemist. It’s not just the level of minerals (salt to a degree, but more importantly nitrates) you also have to be confident the bottle in question has been stored properly. Just google ‘bottled water recall’ and you’ll see how easy it is to contaminate the contents of a bottle of water if it’s not stored and handled properly.

If you’ve found your way to this page without coming in the front door, I declare a ‘self interest here’ as we produce a mineral water suitable for infants, which is also packaged in a paper carton, sealed from light and air to avoid any malhandling issues…

The blind advice to use particular brands of water seems to be given based on their advertising budgets, and some advice is ‘naive’ in the extreme. Read the labels is the only real advice to give any new mum and try to understand what the ingredients are in anything you give to your infant. Most water is certainly safer than the alternative of dehydration…

Here’s our official company stance on the subject with all the reference documents for anyone thinking of immersing in this subject further.

Nitrate / Water Quality Reference Material
WHO (World Health Organisation) nitrate commentary page. NB. See bottom of this fact sheet: – “The group at greatest risk is bottle fed infants. Breastfeeding protects babies from methaemoglobinaemia. Boiling water does not remove nitrate.”
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/methaemoglob/en/

WHO guide on nitrate & nitrite in drinking water – specifically read point 5.3 (infants < 3 months). This paper contradicts the limits of the WHO nitrate commentary paper, defining limits for toxicity with small babies with gastrointestinal disturbances. These limits (ranging from 1.5mg to 2.7 mg of nitrate per kilogram of body weight) are potentially exceeded by a number of popular mineral water brands.

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/nitratenitrite2ndadd.pdf

Drinking Water Standards in England and Wales regulations 2000. This links to the Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 3184 – The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000. – This defines the upper limits for acceptable drinking water in the UK. While these are upper limits, boiling tap water will not change the chemical composition of the raw product.
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2000/20003184.htm#n9

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition issues Draft Report on Salt – 4 November 2002 “The group used information on sodium intakes from breastfeeding to estimate daily target average intakes for infants (0-12 months of age). Draft proposals suggest intakes of less than1g per day for infants aged between 0-6 months and 1g/d for infants aged 7-12 months old. For children aged 1-6 years, the target average salt intake is 2g/d and for children aged 7-14 years it is 5g/d.”
http://www.sacn.gov.uk/press/2002_11_04.html

The composition of AQUAPAX natural mineral water – Typical Analysis: mg/l (and all naturally occurring in one of life's miracles…)
Bicarbonate (HCO3) 145
Calcium (Ca) 58,7
Magnesium (Mg) 6,3
Chloride (Cl) 13,6
Sodium (Na) 6,5
Sulphate (SO4) 48
Potassium (K) 1,0
Nitrate (NO3) <0,3
Nitrite (NO2) <0,005
Manganese (Mn) <0.002
Fluoride (F) 0.09
Uranium (U) not provable (ie. none)

The Directors of Just Drinking Water Ltd advocate drinking tap water for hydration purposes. We furthermore advocate mothers’ breast feed their babies where this is practical. We market Aquapax natural mineral water transparently as pure portable water, suitable for all, including infants.

Aquapax is unique ‘portable water’ developed as an ecologically mindful alternative, to counter the plethora of inferior quality bottled water marketed in the UK and around the world. We urge anyone considering the purchase of any bottled water to consider its ingredients and their environmental impact closely prior to making their purchase.