Are you facing questions about the types of water to use in baby formula?
Do you know the difference between distilled and purified water and how babies should consume them?
Are you a new parent, or has your baby recently needed formula for their daily nutrients? These concerns are valid, especially in many parts of the world where tap water is not the best choice for your baby’s formula.
We will discuss the positives and negatives of each type of water and what is best for your baby’s formula mixtures.
Types in Baby Formula
There are several types of formula that you can use to give your baby as they grow. Some will need added water to prepare them beforehand, while other styles will not. These forms include:
- Ready-to-use liquid
- Liquid concentrate
- Powder concentrate
This product often comes in small, single-serving cans ready to serve your baby. You can open and pour it directly into their bottle and feed your child. You do not have to add water or alter the contents in any way. You should not add any extra water to this type of formula since it already has the required amount of water included. Any additional water can dilute the formula too much and can cause water intoxication.
A concentrated liquid formula is a popular choice for many parents and caregivers. It is easy to open a can and add the required amount of water easily to produce the proper amount for your baby. You should be mindful of the amount and type of water you add to the formula. If you add too much water, you can cause medical issues for your baby.
Many brands will have powder concentrate as an option for baby formula. It is the least expensive option and very easy to make and offer the recommended daily nutrients for your little one. Be sure to follow the directions carefully in the amount of powder mixed with water to ensure the proper dilution required.
Except for the ready-to-use formula option, you will have to decide on what types of water you should use to mix with your baby’s formula. Some may think that water is the same no matter where it comes from, but that isn’t the case.
8 Different Water Sources Available
Depending on where you live in the world, the choices for water can vary. By exploring the different water sources available, you can find the best option for your baby’s formula needs. Some of the water varieties in your area can be:
- Tap (Softened and Unsoftened)
- Spring (also known as Artesian)
Once you break down the many types of water sources, it’s easy to see how different they can be. Recommendations are to avoid some of these choices when adding water to your baby’s formula, so ensure you read through the following information carefully.
1. Distilled Water
Distilling water brings the water to a boiling point, creating vapor, and then using the condensation to turn back into drinkable water again. The minerals contained in the original water source get removed with this process.
There are many conflicting opinions on whether distilled water is healthy for adults to consume regularly. Individuals do need certain minerals as part of their daily intake for health reasons. Consequently, baby formulas contain all of the necessary vitamins and minerals your baby needs, so using distilled water is completely fine.
2. Purified Water
Purified water is water that has been filtered or processed mechanically to remove any impurities. There are several ways to purify water to make it safe for human consumption. Deionization, microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and carbon filtering methods are just a few of the ways to obtain purified water.
3. Boiled Water
In some areas of the world, there are recommendations in place to boil water before consumption. When considering using water for your baby’s formula bottle, you should heat it to the boiling point to help kill any harmful bacteria.
You should boil tap, well, or bottled water before using it for your baby’s formula. The water should reach a minimum temperature of at least 70°Celcius (or 158°Fahrenheit) to kill any bacteria that could be harmful to your little one to ingest.
4. Tap Water
Tap water is not consistent and will have significant variances in different areas around the world. Many homeowners will have water softeners installed in their homes, making the tap water soft, while others consider unsoftened water hard. This hardness term stems from having minerals still present in the water.
Many major population centers will add fluoride in the treated tap water for the residents. You will find mixed reactions about giving your baby water that has added fluoride in it as part of their formula. While fluoride helps prevent teeth decay, too much can be harmful to your baby.
5. Well Water
If you live in a region that uses well water as your primary drinking source, regular examination of the content is essential. Test your well water source each year for any harmful bacteria, nitrates, and other chemicals that could enter into the water system. Even with proper testing, you should not mix well water directly with baby formula. There could be trace amounts of bacteria or other substances that will be fine for adults, but harmful to your baby.
6. Bottled Water
Many consumers will see bottled water on the shelf and assume it is clean and safe for adults and babies. While this water source is completely safe for adults, it will still need boiling before adding it to the baby formula. Small quantities of minerals or bacteria could be inside the bottles and will need removing before using in formula mixtures.
7. Spring Water
Spring water is also known as Artesian water and found in many places around the world. Spring water comes from an underground source that contains many naturally occurring minerals. Similar to well water, you should not be directly combining spring water with your baby’s formula. If you are using spring water, you will need to boil or filter the water beforehand.
8. Carbonated Water
Carbonated water should never be given to your baby or used for their formula. Carbonated water has added gas bubbles and can cause unnecessary gas pain for your little one. Stay away from any form of carbonated water when it comes to offering your baby sources of water.
Side Effects of Using the Wrong Type of Water
There can be drastic side effects if you happen to use the wrong type of water in your baby’s formula, or too much water. If you have any concerns about what is in your water source, talk to your local community health center or water treatment office for more details. Some damaging side effects include:
- Mineral Toxicity
- Water Intoxication
This condition can happen to your baby if they are taking in too much fluoride regularly. If you notice faint white lines developing on your baby’s teeth or streaking, they are ingesting more fluoride than necessary, and it is affecting their teeth. You can avoid fluorosis by eliminating water with fluoride mixed with the formula, or alternating fluoride-enhanced water with distilled or purified water to cut back on the amount your child is getting each day.
2. Mineral Toxicity
Baby formula contains essential vitamins and minerals that babies need for their development. When your baby is using a formula mixture for feeding, they will not need any additional supplements for their health. If you mix mineral or spring water with the baby formula, they can consume more of these minerals than they require, resulting in a mineral overdose.
Some spring and mineral water sources also contain high levels of uranium that can be toxic to your baby. Your little one’s kidneys are still maturing and cannot handle an increased amount of this mineral from water sources that contain excess uranium. A baby’s immune system is weaker when compared to an adult’s, therefore making them more vulnerable to even small amounts of minerals and bacteria.
3. Water Intoxication
This drastic side effect can happen to babies that take too much water into their systems. The kidneys are not able to process the excess water, and it enters the bloodstream. Water intoxication in babies can create severe problems, especially if you or a medical professional do not handle them immediately.
Be very careful to measure the amount of water needed when mixing your baby’s formula. Not enough water can make your baby constipated, and too much can cause water intoxication, especially in infants under six months of age.
Some water sources are safe to use in baby formula, including distilled, purified, and boiled. If you use tap water, be sure to boil the water before you mix it with formula and check for added fluoride. If your local region adds it to the drinking water, opt for a different water source to use for your baby’s formula.
Talk to your health care provider with any concerns you may have regarding mixing water sources with your baby’s formula. They are trained and there to help you figure out which method will be best for your baby’s growth and development.