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Drinking water

January 13, 2013
Now that I’m coming up to six months old I am starting to eat solid food and I have noticed that a sippy cup of water appears at the table for me at meal times.  My friends in the UK drink cooled boiled tap water, but in Dubai the tap water isn’t as high quality so it has to be cooled boiled bottled water, but there are so many brand of water out there, the question is which one is best?
There’s a few things I consider:
  • the mineral  (sodium and sulphate) content;
  • the plastic the bottle is made from;
  • and whether any chemicals are used to clean out the large bottles that go on the water dispenser.
The lower the sodium (Na) and sulphate (SO or SO4) content in the water I drink, the better. The NHS advises that there should be less than 200mg per litre of sodium and less than 250mg/l of sulphates, but of all the labels I have checked here there is nothing that comes anywhere near those levels.  Here’s the results of my research to find the best bottled waters (for drinking neat or to make up formula) for babies readily available here in Dubai:
Ordered by lowest sodium content (mg/l)
  1. Arwa (3.3) *
  2. Evian (6.5) and Acqua Panna (6.5)
  3. Al Ain (8)
  4. Masafi (10)
  5. Volvic (11.6)
  6. Aquafina (16) and Oasis (16) *
  7. Nestle Purelife (18) *
Ordered by lowest sulphate content (mg/l)
  1. Al Ain (5)
  2. Oasis (6)
  3. Volvic (8.1)
  4. Evian (12.6)
  5. Masafi (19)
  6. Acqua Panna (22)
  7. Nestle Purelife (24)*
  8. Aquafina (51)*
  9. Arwa (96.8)*

(* these waters are distilled waters, not mineral waters)

I favour Al Ain, Evian or Volvic if I buy a smaller bottle but as these are not available in the 4 or 5 gallon containers for our kitchen water dispenser I settle for Masafi which is still relatively low in both sodium and sulphates. I always boil my water and let it cool before drinking as bottled water is not sterile. For using water to make up formula the water should be boiled and used at at least 70C when mixed with the formula  powder to kill the bacteria in the formula powder itself. The made up formula must be cooled as quickly as possible.


I try to take account of the bottles themselves– whether the plastic contains BPA (Bisphenol A). In high temperatures especially, chemicals from the plastic leach into the water and BPA is a nasty carcinogenic compound I like to avoid. Bottled water is often left out in the heat, on the back of the water delivery trucks or in warehouses which is why I am particular about it over here in Dubai. The longer the water has been stored in the bottle, the more chemicals are present in the water so I order my water bottles little and often to ensure they are as new as possible. If they miss their turn I can often taste the plastic. Yuck.
Masafi  4 gallon bottles are BPA free and have the lowest sodium and sulphate content available in large bottles for the water dispenser. If I am being really pernickity, I could also add that the 4 gallon, as opposed to the 5 gallon bottles, are better as they are not reusable. Although this sounds terribly un-eco friendly, the 5 gallon bottles are rinsed out with chemicals between each use, whereas the 4 gallon ones are not. I do make sure Dad recycles these bottles every week though, I promise.

From → Feeding

  1. This is a great post and very useful for anyone who’s consious of the water they drink, apparetnly the lower sodium content is better for our hair but obviously not practical…maybe one final rinse !
    from Monica

    • That’s interesting – I didn’t know low sodium water is better for my hair. Maybe that’s why I’m getting on for 7 months but still don’t have any!

  2. Huda permalink

    This is very useful information. Thanks for this!

  3. Arsalan Al Hashimi permalink

    Hey! amazing info, and thank for putting all together… Just one question, where did you get your information from? I am asking in specific about the 4 gallon Masafi bottle being BPA free… Just wanted to make sure that you got this from a trust worthy source before I go ahead and start getting those… THANKS!!! 🙂

    • Hello! The Masafi 4 gallon bottles actually say BPA free on them. I have also found that Highland Spring small water bottles are much better than most and certainly taste less plasticy!

  4. sophie permalink

    Bpa-free doesn’t necessarily mean that the plastic won’t leach out other chemicals. I read that chemical companies basically formulated a different type of plastic to replace the earlier BPA-releasing ones and patented the formula. The formula and process is a secret. So now instead of BPA’s we may be ingesting something far more harmful. I’m trying to look into a solid carbon filtration process such as those of Berkey water filters. They can even remove plastic and pesticide residues.

    Another concern is fluoride content. Please make sure your water does not have any added fluoride (should be less than 0.02 mg/L).

  5. Raed permalink

    I’m not an expert but I just checked the Al Ain website and they claim that they use PET bottles, which does not contain BPA. So wouldn’t that be the perfect balance for low sodium/lowest sulphate/bpa free option?

    • Absolutely!
      Al Ain is great for small bottles but I’m not aware they do the 4 or 5 gallon bottles for the water dispensers?

  6. OMG this is so helpful! just moved to dubai and my baby is 6m old.. will definately take your advice!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing such a informative post with us. For making awareness among us for the purity of water, some factors like low sodium, etc.

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