Choice of water in healthy baby nutrition – practical aspects
Anna Rudnicka, Kamil Konrad Hozyasz
Water is the basic component of the human body at all development stages. The water requirement per body weight is four times higher in infants compared to adults. The only source of water in the first months of life is human milk and/or formula. The main factors determining the choice of water for infants and children are: the total amount, type and content of dissolved minerals (mainly sodium, sulphates, nitrates and nitrites), concentration of minerals and good manufacturing practice as well as implemented and evaluated safety systems for food quality. In the case of infants and children younger than 3 years of age, spring water or low-mineralised natural water is recommended, while moderately mineralised water is allowed in children older than 1 year of age. Water cannot have any, even potential, negative effects on the child’s organism. The main health-related threat associated with water consumption (also water used for formula preparation) is microbiological, agricultural or industrial water contamination. This review presents the most important information about tap and bottled water used to feed infants and toddlers. Studies on well water have also been discussed, raising questions about the legitimacy and safety of its consumption by infants. The review presents a management scheme for water used for the preparation of infant formula as well as potential health-related risks of consuming overmineralised drinking water, water with chemical contamination or water distributed in plastic containers.