Many parents have concerns about what kind of water to use in formulas and there is always the notorious question of, should I boil the water? We are happy to answer some of you most common questions about mixing water with your baby formula.
Should I Boil The Water?
The reason behind boiling water is because formulas are not sterile. The Centers for Disease Control recommends using hot water to make formula in order to avoid the risk of infection by rare but deadly bacteria called Cronobacter that has been found in powdered formula. To kill this bacteria (if it’s present in the powder) you must mix the formula soon after the water is boiled, before it cools below 158 degrees F. It would essentially “kill” the possibility. However, we know that when babies are hungry, they want to eat quickly and boiling water may seem like an eternity while your baby cries her lungs out. We cannot recommend skipping this step due to the precaution behind it but we can say, please use discretion when making that decision.
One option to consider is instant hot water via a reverse osmosis system. Not only will you get water free from about 85-92% of fluoride, you will have access to boiling water on demand. There are also some great brands of electric kettles that boil water very quickly. One we can personally recommend is Hamilton Beach. We have found, you can boil 8-10 oz of water in about 1-1.5 minutes.
What Kind Of Water Should Be Used To Mix Formula?
The best kind of water will not contain any fluoride. Fluoride is found in 70% of city water and sometimes in bottled water. Too much fluoride puts your baby at risk for enamel fluorosis, a condition that develops while the teeth are forming in the gums. It’s not a disease, but it can result in faint white lines or white spots or areas on the permanent teeth. Fluoride can be found naturally in both formula & breastmilk or in the case with American formulas, added to the formula. However, Germany is one of the few countries in the world that does not add fluoride to their water supply or baby formulas, so any fluoride that may be present is 100% naturally occurring. This is one reason to avoid water with high levels of fluorides. There are also other numerous concerns about humans in general consuming fluoride, here is a great article for further reading: http://fluoridealert.org/articles/50-reasons/
As with other fresh water supplies (e.g., spring water, lake water, river water), bottled waters have low levels of fluoride. Fresh surface water contains an average of just 0.05 ppm. To put this in perspective, artificially fluoridated water (using industrial-grade fluoride chemicals) contains 0.7 to 1.2 ppm fluoride, which is 14 to 24 times more than the average natural level.
Common brands of formula that contain little to no fluoride are:
Some brands to avoid due to higher level of fluoride are:
Most nursery waters are also known to have added high levels of fluoride so we do recommended avoiding those as well.
You can find a complete list of safe & unsafe bottled waters here. Always check the label of your bottled water for levels of fluoride.
Trying to avoid plastic bottles & fluoride? Try “Boxed Water Is Better”. Not only is it free from toxic BPA & fluoride but the water goes thru a 8 step water purification process to ensure its completely free of impurities and minerals.
You can use fluoridated water to prepare infant formula. However, if your baby is does not eat or drink anything but infant formula that is mixed with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance for mild dental fluorosis. To lessen this chance, you can use low-fluoride bottled water some of the time to mix with infant formula; these bottled waters are labeled as de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled. If they have added fluoride, the label will say so.
What About Distilled Water?
Distilled water can be used to dilute formula milk powder or used to make baby food. It will not bring unwanted effects since it is the purest form of water coming from condensation and re-condensation process.
The Center For Disease & Prevention suggests that using distilled water is safe to use for baby formula. “. To lessen this chance, you can use low-fluoride bottled water some of the time to mix with infant formula; these bottled waters are labeled as de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled. If they have added fluoride, the label will say so.” http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/cdc.infant-formula-fluorosis.july2015.pdf
Is Fluoride The Only Thing To Avoid?
As far as bottled water, yes. However, if you are on a well or your city does not add fluoride to their drinking water. We do still recommend having your water tested for high levels of lead, nitrates, environmental toxins, manganese, fecal coloform & arsenic. Many home installed reverse osmosis systems can remove many of these toxins, consult with your reverse osmosis system expert for clarity. It is always a great idea when using tap water, to use a water purifier and be sure to change the filter as required. Some parents prefer to avoid bottled water all together due to the plastic