Shelley, 34 years old, is a project coordinator for a non-profit organization and a mom to Duncan, now age 8. As a mom, she is very particular about her family’s health, especially since a bout with typhoid fever when she was still single had her hospitalized for weeks and almost made her miss her wedding day.
"Motherhood has been the best gift I’ve been given,” she relates. “Eight years ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful surprise of my life -- my son. As a young mom, I was clueless and I mostly relied on my mom’s advice and my pediatrician’s instructions on newborn care. I was encouraged to breastfeed and I did, even if my nipples were still too sore,” she continues.
“When it was time to return to work, I pumped breast milk regularly. Since my son started using feeding bottles, all the more that I had to make sure that whatever he puts in his mouth was clean. I used only baby-friendly and doctor-approved dishwashing soap, and for peace of mind, I used boiled distilled water for the final rinse. I’ve heard of many illnesses borne from contaminated water, so I remained vigilant,” she relates.
Marnie, 26, a legal assistant, and mom to Miko, 3, tells of a similar decision when it comes to her toddler’s health: “I would only use a cotton ball soaked in distilled water to clean my baby’s mouth. When he started to use a toothbrush, I made him gargle using distilled water, too,” since, as the cliché goes, prevention is really better than cure. “Knowing that babies are only starting to beef up their immune system during their first three months of life, I didn’t want to put my baby at risk.”
Whenever she goes out with Miko — be it for a playdate or a stroll at the mall or park, Marnie makes sure she brings enough distilled water with her. “Once, I even had to bring five gallons of water for a week’s vacation to a remote beach island to make sure my baby had enough water supply!”
“I'll admit I’m a bit over-the-top, especially when my son was younger. But I am a reasonable and practical mom. So no, he doesn’t take baths or rinse his mouth with distilled water anymore; nor are his feeding utensils washed separately from ours. Children need to test and build their immune system after all, at age-appropriate times. There’s only one thing I can’t ever compromise when it comes to my son’s safety: it’s the water he drinks to nourish him and quench his thirst even now that he’s no longer a baby.”
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*Names have been changed
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