Baby's health

Florida Baby Hospitalized From Drinking Watered-Down Formula

A Tampa hospital is cautioning cash-strapped parents against watering down baby formula, after a 5-month-old almost died from the money-saving strategy.

Baby Drinking Bottle

Last week La’Damian Barton was hospitalized after he had a seizure and stopped breathing. Doctors diagnosed him with water intoxication and malnourishment.

His mother, 23-year-old Jeri Moss, says she had no idea adding the extra water was dangerous. She was trying to stretch the allotment of baby formula cans she receives each month from the federal WIC program for low-income families. The technical college student says she couldn’t afford to buy more.

Too much water can stop a baby’s body from absorbing the nutrients it needs from milk. It can also lead to an imbalance of electrolytes.

I cannot for the life of me understand why those who are in financial problems don’t breast feed…It’s FREE!

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!


  • This is a very, very sad story.

    But, your comment on breastfeeding shows some real ignorance of the economics of breastfeeding: it is free to breastfeed, but it is often impossible to pump and work. It’s only good jobs that offer women the time and place to pump whilst working. Cashiers and other low-wage workers rarely get that. I found pumping from work VERY hard and I have a desk job: imagine stopping housecleaning and trying to relax enough to let milk down…it’s not that practical.

  • Agree with the previous poster. Miseducation is a factor, but some women CAN NOT breastfeed for a variety of reasons. And pumping is not always acceptable. My first child I was on WIC. I did breastfeed for four months and when I went back to school to earn my degree, I pumped until my body stopped producing. I think life stresses were a factor. Please be careful when making judgements about breastfeeding unless you have the facts.

    I hope the baby recovers fully.

  • I also agree that this is a very sad story. I also wholeheartedly agree that some women CAN NOT breastfeed. I was unable to solely breastfeed any of my three girls. My body did not produce enough milk, despite countless visits to the lactation consultants (yes, I went to more than one), trying all their “tricks”, and even taking the medication. I desperately wanted to breastfeed, but was unable. I have found that so many people are quick to judge parents who formula-feed their babies. I agree with the previous poster that we should never make judgements about breastfeeding without first knowing all the facts.

  • Yeah, that is a sad story. I breastfeed my daughter for more than six months while I’m working in the office. I regularly pumped and make sure I have enough stocks of my breast milk. I know there are lot of moms trying their best to breastfeed but they do not have enough milk. Thanks God, I have!

  • The water is even more damaging if it contains fluoride. All infant formula, concentrated or not, must not be mixed with fluoridated water, according to the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and the Academy of General Dentistry. This puts babies at high risk of developing dental fluorosis – yellow discolored teeth which is the body’s outward warning that too much fluoride was ingested. Unseen is the damage fluoride ingestion causes to bones, thyroid and kidney function. Also, over 20 studies link even low level fluoride ingestion to lowered IQ

    Since fluoride is neither a nutrient nor required for healthy teeth, it must be avoided. Instead these poor children are being way overloaded.

    Fluoride should be removed from all water supplies immediately, If parents don’t know that they shouldn’t super-dilute infant formula, they certainly are unaware of the danger to their babies that fluoridated tap water delivers. Obviously, we can’t trust our health departments and legislators to properly inform people – because they already haven’t done so. Dental researchers have warned as early as 2000 that infant formula should not be mixed into infant formula.

    Look at the back of a toothpaste tube. Fluoride is a poison.

  • My grandson and his wife regulary water down 2% milk with nearly 1/2 of a bottle being water since wic desided she didn’t need formula anymore, she is one yr. old, she does not like this watered down milk and refuses to dirnk much of it. I try to tell them she needs the nutrition from milk that the water is not good for her, they refuse to believe me, it’s like I never raised four kids of my own so I am dumb about raising babies. They said the wic person was a dr. so she knew what she was talking about, I say she does not.
    My main concern is will this make my grandaughter sick?

  • As someone struggling to pay for formula (I do not water it down however) saying ‘breastfeeding is free’ is really ignorant.

    I do not produce enough milk and also could not afford nutritious food for MYSELF (as the milk machine) which I think contributed to my milk drying up prematureley.

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