Water’s just water, right? Well, not quite—at least when it comes to water for baby formula.
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Tap water, bottled water, distilled water, spring water, and well water are all different and contain different chemicals.
That matters, because what’s in the water can affect your health and your baby’s.
In this article: 📝
- The best water for baby formula: Some concerns
- What water to use for baby formula?
- What is the best water for a baby?
The best water for baby formula: Some concerns
Let’s start with the why. The question of water for baby formula comes up because of three things that water can contain:
- Fluoride. Many countries fortify their water supply with fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. However, it can cause problems for some babies. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis—or discoloration—for developing teeth.
- Bacteria. Some types of water are not sterilized, meaning there can be bugs hanging around. Because baby immune systems are still pretty weak, these can cause problems.
- Nitrates, salts, and other chemicals. Sometimes chemicals from farming and pollution—as well as from totally normal, natural sources—can get into the water supply. These are usually in very limited quantities, but your little one’s body is sensitive and it’s best if they’re not exposed to these chemicals at all.
What water to use for baby formula?
So, what kind of water is best for baby formula?
Can I use distilled water for baby formula?
Distilled water is made by heating and evaporating regular water and collecting it where it condenses.
This makes it the purest water around. It’s about as free of bacteria as you can get. It’s also free of other chemicals and substances (like fluoride) that are often found in water.
That’s great. But, as your baby gets older, it’s good for them to have some extra minerals in water because their body needs them to stay healthy.
Right now, though, your baby will get all they need from their formula. And the downside of distilled water is that it can be pretty expensive.
Can I use bottled water for baby formula?
Bottled water is water that’s bottled in a plant. Sounds promising.
But because there are so many brands that it’s difficult to give one rule for them all.
The risk is that bottled water can be high in fluoride.
Make sure that you never use electrolyte-enhanced water.
Those electrolytes may be good for you and me, but your baby’s kidneys are too immature to handle them.
It’s not always sterile and, according to the UK’s NHS, some brands may contain too much salt for babies.
The CDC maintains that bottled water is okay as long as the fluoride levels are low.
You’ll just need to read the back of the bottle.
Can I use tap water for baby formula?
The water that comes out of the tap differs from place to place.
Usually, it’s treated and tested to ensure that it’s safe to drink.
But depending on where you are, it can have more fluoride than is recommended for babies.
Can I use well water for baby formula?
About 15% of people across the US rely on water from wells or private underground reservoirs.
As it’s natural water, it’s difficult to regulate its quality.
Leaving your baby aside for a moment, if you are drinking it, it’s best to get it tested regularly for its chemical content and bacterial contamination.
If you’re sure about what it contains, well water is perfectly okay for your baby.
If not, it’s really not recommended. Even boiling it may not solve the problem, as minerals such as nitrates (from farming) and iron aren’t removed by boiling.
Can I use spring water for baby formula?
Spring water comes from sources far underground.
You can buy it bottled or source it straight from bubbling mountain brooks.
The trouble is that spring water tends to have a very high mineral content, which isn’t recommended for baby formula even in its bottled form.
What is the best water for a baby?
Clean water—whether from the tap, bottled, or distilled—is great for mixing formula.
But if you have any doubts at all, chat with your doctor.
They’ll be able to give you advice on your local water supply.
Whichever water for baby formula you choose to use, it’s best to boil it first to reduce the chance of infection.
And why not check out some more formula hygiene tips?
💡 More from The 411:
Why I Chose to Formula Feed
How Many Ounces Should a Baby Eat? A Chart
Newborn Baby Feeding Schedule Ideas
A Nifty Guide to Bottle Feeding
How Long is Formula Good For?
Your Essential Formula Feeding Guide
How to Transition from Formula to Milk: 5 Tips
When Do Babies Stop Drinking Formula?