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 use boiling water for my infant formula?
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 For Baby 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. How much fluoride is in your tap water? Get a kit to test your levels to ensure its not too high.
Best Water For Baby Formula
Common brands of formula that contain little to no fluoride are:
- Arbor Springs
- Aquafina Water
- Aqua Pure
- Black Berry Farms
- Blue Ice Natural Mineral Water
- Century Springs
- Clear Mountain Spring Water
- Crystal Spring Natural Spring Water
- Deja Blue
- Flowing Springs
- Fresh Market
- Glacier Bay
- Hidden Valley Natural Mineral Water
- Mountain Valley Spring Water
- Oasis Pure Drinking Water
- Polaris Water
- Smart Water
- Whole Foods 365
Some brands to avoid due to higher level of fluoride are:
- Belmont Springs
- Crystal Rock
- Crystal Springs
- Deer Park
- Diamond Springs
- Ice Mountain
- Mount Olympus
- Poland Spring
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 For Baby Formula?
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
Can I Use A Water Pitcher Filtration System?
There are actually some pretty good brands out there that could work well of course depending on how contaminated your water is. One we recommend is Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher. It rids of a absolute ton of contaminates then most water pitchers.
Is Fluoride The Only Thing To Avoid for Babies' Formula?
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.
What About When On A Road Trip Or At A Hotel Without Access To Bottled Water?
Consider using a bottle that has a filter in it. This will not rid of 100% of the chemicals in water or the fluoride but the water will be far more cleaner then using water straight out the tap. There are many different brand but Sawyer Water Filtration is one of the better ones. Its not only inexpensive but you can attach to it most water bottles and you can fill up the pouch it comes with to easily filter tap water.
European Formulas Do Not Add Flouride!!
All European formulas may contain trace amounts of natural fluoride but there is absolutely never any added. Littlemooorganics.com has a great variety of baby formulas with low levels of fluoride.