The Joke’s on Us: Why Nursery Water is Not for Babies

The Joke is On Us: Why Nursery Water is Not for Babies - Fill in the blank:

Nests are to birds as nurseries are to _____________.

Common sense informs us the answer is babies.  

(Well, I guess you could have said plants, but this is a blog about babies, so…)

Evidently, these people struggle with that riddle because their product, “Nursery Water,” is actually NOT RECOMMENDED for babies.  

(Or plants.)


Yeah, I was too.

In this month’s “Ask Heather,” I’m going to address the question Danielle posted on the formula allergies post and explain why you shouldn’t  use Nursery Water in the nursery.

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Nursery Water is purified water with extra fluoride added.

Fluoride is an element (remember your Chemistry class? on the Periodic Table.)  A man-made version of Fluroide is created in laboratories and then added to urban drinking water to help prevent tooth decay. 

So, like most everything in the world, fluoride is a good thing, but too much of a good thing, even if it’s vitamins and minerals, can be harmful.  That’s the problem with Nursery Water.  

It’s “fixing” a problem that usually doesn’t exist.  Even worse, by “fixing” it, it can create a NEW problem: fluorosis.

There is a huge online debate regarding fluoride, with many people stating fluoride is a poison and should be taken out of drinking water, etc.  I’ve done a lot of reading on this subject, and although I see a lot of “medical research shows” comments, none of those comments actually link 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.  I DID however, find a lot of medical research that warns against overdosing on fluoride.  If you know of or have found scientific research on the dangers of using fluoride at ALL, please list it in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

How much Fluoride is too much?

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.

Babies under 6 months are getting enough naturally, and should not receive any “supplements” of fluoride (like in Nursery Water).

Fluoride exists naturally in breastmilk, and it’s added to formula.

Babies older than 6 months probably don’t need extra fluoride.  

If you drink city water, the fluoride is added.  So mixing infant formula (which has fluoride) with tap water should cover your baby’s needs.  Using Nursery Water with your formula can lead to fluorosis or, for sensitive tummies, a lot of vomiting and spitting up.

My research indicated that European countries no longer fluoridate water there, so parents living outside the US should consider and talk to your doctor/dentist about whether you should add fluoride as a supplement.

If you drink well water you will need to get it tested.  Anything less than <0.3 ppm (3 µg/L) fluoride will mean you can supplement with Nursery Water without worrying about overdosing.  *Huzzah! Finally a market for Nursery Water!*

The Take-Away Truth about Nursery Water

Okay, let’s sum up and review.

  • Do not use Nursery Water for babies younger than 6 months.
  • If you use city water in the US, don’t use Nursery Water.
  • If you use well water, get your water tested to determine whether using Nursery Water would be a good idea.
  • If you live overseas, discuss with your doctor about whether you should consider using Nursery Water.
  • Regardless, never use Nursery Water to mix formula.  If you’re going to use it, give it to your baby through a sippy cup.

Citations – See? I Didn’t Make This Up!
Drinking Water From Private Wells and Risks to Children (PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 6 June 2009, pp. e1123-e1137)’


  1. I live in the Chicagoland area. I’ve been told that being as close to Lake Michigan is good for us because we have some of the freshest/cleanest water in the country. Would you then recommend using tap water? I’ve always used nursery water and never thought twice about it. Tap water tastes a little funky to me. Thoughts?

    • Melanie, I live in the southeastern Wisconsin area (we’re practically neighbors!), and I would run our tap water through a filter like Brita or something. Every year we get a pamphlet from the city laying out how our tap water tested, and I use that as a “what are we doing this year” kind of guide. The different kinds of bottled waters is rather overwhelming…so here’s a quick guide to each:

      Drinking Water ~ Tap water from the city that’s in a bottle.

      Purified Water ~ Water that comes from anywhere, but has been purified to remove chemicals or contaminants. The negative here is that in that process, some of the beneficial minerals may have been removed as well.

      Distilled Water ~ Water that’s gone through a rigorous filtration process to strip it of contaminants and any natural minerals. Good for small appliances (like steam irons) because it won’t eventually create that crust you have to clean up. It’s purified water amped up to 11.

      Spring Water ~ Water that is brought up from an underground source and may or may not have been treated and purified.

      If the tap water tastes a little funky, I would try the purified water. It will have any impurities removed, and even though you may be a little low on the natural minerals, your baby’s formula, breastmilk, and eventually solids can make up that difference. Hope this can help Melanie! :-)

    • Doug Cragoe says:

      If you use Chicago water to mix infant formula you will overdose you baby even more than using fluoridated Nursery Water. Chicago has 1ppm, Nursery water has .7ppm.

      Nursery water also has a non-fluoridated version. You should use that for toothless infants. No authority today claims that any kind of fluoridated water is beneficial for toothless infants, but you have to read between the lines to get that message.

      All authorities today say overdosing babies is a risk for fluorosis in permament teeth. So why would you put your baby at risk for no reward?

      The reason you and your pediatrician don’t know about this is that authorities have decided that the reputation of fluoridation is more important than putting babies as risk for fluorosis for no benefit.

      When fluoridation started it was always a risk/reward proposition. Less tooth decay for increased fluroosis. Now we have a lot of fluorosis and the benefit of less tooth decay has become so small compared to children raised on non-fluoridated water that it’s not worth it anymore.


    Hi Heather,
    Here’s a web site to consider for fluoridation discussion. Mercola most always provides research references with his articles, and many of them go outside research done by the invested parties of “big pharma,” etc. As always, read with perspective and discretion! I notice he has several other articles about this topic also.
    Enjoy your info!

    • Awesome Sheila! Thanks so much!

    • Although Mercola provides references, they tend to be misapplied or unreliable; even alternative health organizations can have high research standards, and the ones he cites just don’t cut it. The article linked above addresses Mercola’s points and concerns about fluoridation.

      By the way, Mercola has been warned by the FDA several times to stop making illegal medical claims. For more information about Mercola, please read the article at:

  3. Hi Heather!

    What about the nursery water with no added flouride? That is what we use to mix our formula; it is steam distilled but specifically states “NO ADDED FLOURIDE” on the container. I’m assuming that it’s okay to use, right?

    • Ashley, yep. My only concern with the nursery water is the flouride. If you can get it without, than great. I would, however, compare the price with other forms of bottled water…just to make sure. :-) I described the different types of water in y reply to Melanie, hopefully that can help!

  4. Pamela Wilson says:

    I have never used Nursery Water…not even sure I’ve ever seen it, but I avoid Fluoride at all costs whenever I can so I definitely appreciate the heads up!

    So, if I am mixing powdered formula with bottled water….which is what I use when I make powdered…is it preferable to be using Distilled Water, or Pure Mountain Spring Water for the minerals? I have been using Distilled…but then read online that it is stripped of everything and it it is actually better to use Spring. My daughter picked me up 3 big bottles of Spring Water from Trader Joe’s that I haven’t used yet…but honestly, now I am confused as to which would be better. Any ideas? :)

    • Here’s a brief summary of the different types of water, hopefully they can help with the confusion! (and it IS confusing!)

      Drinking Water ~ Tap water from the city that’s in a bottle.

      Purified Water ~ Water that comes from anywhere, but has been purified to remove chemicals or contaminants. The negative here is that in that process, some of the beneficial minerals may have been removed as well.

      Distilled Water ~ Water that’s gone through a rigorous filtration process to strip it of contaminants and any natural minerals. Good for small appliances (like steam irons) because it won’t eventually create that crust you have to clean up. It’s purified water amped up to 11.

      Spring Water ~ Water that is brought up from an underground source and may or may not have been treated and purified.

      If you’re avoiding tap water, I would choose purified water first. That said, if you’d rather not toss those spring water bottles, I don’t think it will hurt her to use those. Worst case, you could alternate back and forth between purified and spring. Hope this helps Pamela! :)

  5. always google the exact water .
    @Anna the info about Dr Mercola from the link you posted had nothing to do with fluoride. It was a out product label guidelines. In the same vein, here is a link about the sktchy owner of

    Just bought an apec ro system for $200 on amazon because I was tired of making trips to the store for distilled. Good article for awareness Heather.



  6. False Information says:

    Um… you’re generalizing the brand Nursery Water. They do make a NON-FLUORIDE ADDED version of it. So by writing this article, you’re telling your readers to avoid it altogether.

    • I’m happy to hear that they make a non-fluoride added water – thanks for adding that for my readers. This is the first time I’ve ever heard/seen a non-fluoride added version. This article was written with the information I had (as is any article, right? You do research, and then write about what you find.) A non-fluoride option did not appear when I did the research for this article oh-so-many-months ago, but I’m happy to have your comment to let people know that that option is now available.

      There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a non-fluoride version of water (and, in fact, it may be better in some areas!), just make sure the price reflects the product, and not the marketing. I would encourage readers then to price-compare and see if the cost of buying the nursery water is comparable with other types of water or if they are paying extra for the word “nursery”.

  7. The non fluoride nursery water brand has a purple label and the fluoride added has a pink label, Gerber also makes non-fluoride added water with a purple label.


    You are wrong about Nursery Water. It comes in both fluoride and non-fluoride versions.


    Here is a scientific research study done from one of the most prestigious Universities in the World. If you read this all the way through, (boring alert) you will see that fluoride also calcifies in children as well.

  10. Hi–where we live in NJ, there is NO fluoride in our city water. My son is 16 months old. Would you recommend then using nursery water in his sippy? He is no longer on formula, just milk.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Before you decide to supplement with nursery water I would check in with your pediatrician. Your doctor will have a better idea of whether it’s necessary at this time.

  11. Hi. I Have been giving my five month old daughter nursery water since she was three months old. She was a preemie and I’m the nicu for the first three months of her life. It seems like she has been having problems with her bowl since she came home. We have switched formulas a few times but still the diarrhea continues. And she keeps an awful rash on her bottom that the doctors say is a yeast rash. Has anybody ever seen this when using nursery water? We can’t figure out what’s causing her upset tummy. Pls post back with comments and advice! Thanks!

    • Hailey, I would bring this up to your doctor and get his advice on this. Since she was a preemie, I would get his perspective first. He will steer you in the right direction!

  12. The gallon of nursery water was cloudy and smelled like sewage. My 3month old was vomiting off and on and couldn’t figure out why. Tried to contact the company but no response.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Oh, Rachel!

      That sounds terrible. I would definitely take anything that smells strange back to the store and ask for a refund!

  13. Before I had my first baby (now 3 months), I had no idea people used special water to make formula. I planned on breast feeding and wound up not making any milk. For the first week or so, we boiled water to make formula, then had to cool it. At her first appointment, the pediatrician said it’s perfectly fine to use our tap water. Obviously, every place has different water concerns, but he said ours is fine. I’m not sure if it’s flouridated or not.

  14. Nursery Water comes in both “added fluoride” and “no-fluoride added” versions.  Make sure you buy the “no-fluoride added” version to mix with baby formula.  Walmart usually has both versions, about $0.88/gallon.  Just read the label.  The water type is printed in upper right corner of Nursery Water label.  Ask your pediatrician when it’s safe to give your child fluorinated water.

    • i buy non fluoride water for my grand daughter, but why does the label say to refridgerate after opening and use in seven days? i didn’t think water went bad that fast, and i only see that on nursery water.

      • Danielle Miller says:


        I did some checking and didn’t find a good answer to your question. I’m guessing this is just a precaution, one of those “extra careful” kind of labels.

  15. Fluorine is the element F.  Fluoride is the ion of Fluorine.  Splitting hairs to some, but the proper usage would lend veracity to your article.  My teeth are quite rotten, and I wish that we would have had fluoridated water when I was a kid.  Our kids have gotten fluoridated nursery water from day one, and we have given them every vaccine we can get.  They are both very, very healthy.  It seems like many parents outsmart themselves when it comes to medical issues these days.  Fluoridated water has been around for a long time, and the symptoms of Fluorine poisoning are well defined and don’t occur with nursery water.

  16. Kristen Lewis says:

    Hi talking about this fluoride. I have a 9 week old baby girl. Well one of the things the doctors didn’t tell me about nursery water. Nothing for that matter. I found out about nursery water by my bfs cousin. Well we bought the nursery water and it was kind of expensive. Like a dollar when she goes through a gallon in about a week well the next time we went to the store we found this baby water brought out by gerber. It is not fluoridated and it is only $0.88 a gallon. I highly recommend it. We use it because we have well water which is sketchy.

  17. Umm…. Nursery water also has a “no fluoride added” option… it’s what I use as added fluoride in water is horrible for you.

  18. Where did you cite your facts that fluoride is in breastmilk? The composition of breastmilk does not contain fluoride at all! Zero flouride from our chemistry charts. This website needs to be updated. Europe and most countries (except america) has now removed flouride from most of their products altogether! Realizing it is a poison more than anything else.

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