What Kind of Water to Use with Baby Formula

image001If you have decided to feed your baby formula, you might be uncertain about what kind of water to use with baby formula. The chemicals and minerals that are often found in our usual drinking water might not be right for your baby at such a young age. Here are a few guidelines that can help ensure your baby stays happy and healthy while drinking formula.

What Kind of Water to Use with Baby Formula

Before you make a decision on what kind of water to use with baby formula, talk to your doctor about which types of water are right to mix with powdered or concentrated formulas. The pediatrician deals with this question all the time, and probably knows a great deal about the local water supply.

Sometimes you might be advised to use the drinking water from the tap, but to boil it first. If that’s the case, make sure the water is at a good rolling boil, and keep it there for at least one minute. This will destroy any pathogens in the water that could hurt your baby. However, don’t boil the water for too long, and don’t boil it more than once, as that can actually concentrate any impurities and make it even worse for your baby!

Are you on a public water system? You can check your local water utility for information on the fluoride in the water. If the water contains substantial natural fluoride, it might be a good idea to use water from a different source at least for the first few months.

1. Water You Can Use

Here are some of the water sources that might work well in your area:



Bottled water just for babies

Some companies produce water that is designed to be used with baby formula. This water follows much stricter guidelines than other water sources, and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Tap water

In some areas, tap water is perfectly safe, but that depends on where you live. Some water supplies have higher concentrations of certain chemicals or additives, so make sure of what your tap water is really like before you commit to using it. In most cases, tap water can be boiled to create a perfect medium for mixing formula.

Bottled water

Regular bottled water might contain minerals for taste, and that’s not something your baby needs. It might also be considered such as distilled water, spring water, sparkling water and more. Make sure that if you do use bottled water, it is simple spring water with no additives whatsoever. Bottled water is also not sterile, so you will have to boil it, just as you boil tap water.

2. Water You Should Avoid

There are definitely some water sources you should always avoid when making your baby’s formula.

  • Well water

Before you use your well water, make sure it is safe. That means a thorough evaluation and testing by a professional who can determine what is in your water. Well water can also contain minerals such as iron and nitrates, which boiling won’t diminish. In fact, boiling can cause the concentrations of these minerals to become even higher. To stay safe, it might be best to not use well water to feed your baby.

  • Water containing high-levels of fluoride

If your water contains fluoride, no matter what type of water it is, it is likely not safe for your child. High levels of fluoride can cause spots on the enamel of the teeth that simply won’t go away. This can be even worse if your baby is taking a fluoride supplement.

You should also avoid carbonated waters of any kind as well as mineral water. Both of these are very difficult for your baby to digest and can lead to serious problems such as gas pains or diarrhea.

Should I Boil Water?

When should you boil water for your baby’s bottle? You should probably do this all the time, no matter what kind of water you use. That’s because no water is truly sterile, which means that some of them will have bacteria inside. While bacteria like these are often completely unnoticed by adults, it can affect babies adversely. No matter what the type of water you use, boiling might be the best idea at least during the first few months.

How to Add Water to My Baby’s Formula

When adding water to your baby’s formula, always follow the directions that are on the package of formula. Each one is different, so they might require different amounts of water or certain ways of mixing it up. This is a basic rule of thumb for liquid-concentrate or powdered formulas:

  • Start with cold tap water. Let the water run for up to two minutes to get it as cold as possible. The colder the water is, the lower amount of contaminants you might have in the water.
  • Pour the cold water into a clean saucepan and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for one minute at a good and steady rate. Let the water cool down until it is lukewarm–this might take some time, so it is always best to plan to make the formula well before you actually pour it into the bottle.
  • Once the water has cooled sufficiently, use it to make the formula. Make sure to add the appropriate amount, using a measuring cup or spoon. This is very important, as diluted formula doesn’t give your baby the vitamins and minerals it needs, while formula that is too concentrated can lead to stomach upset or other problems.
  • Mix the formula up as the package directs, and then feed it to your baby with the peace of mind that it has been prepared properly.

For more information on how to prepare a bottle for your baby, this video can help: