What Type of Water is Safe to Use in Baby Formula?

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021


Woman feeding a bottle to a baby

Babies depend on us for nourishment before they are even born. Once your bundle of joy arrives, you need to determine how you will feed them and of course, their safety is of the utmost priority. What is the best kind of bottle to use? How often do you feed them? Should you use formula or not, and if so, which kind is best? If you choose to use formula to feed your little one, there is an additional part to consider that may be the most important: is my drinking water safe for my infant?

City Tap Water

If you live in a city or a town, your water is supplied by your municipality and is treated by their facilities before it comes to your home. These processes make sure the water quality meets the standards set by the EPA for health and safety. This means city water is usually pretty trustworthy when it comes to feeding it to your infant. It is possible though, that lead might find it’s way into your water supply either through old pipes throughout the city or even from your own home. If your house was built before 1986, there could be lead pipes used in your plumbing. So even if the water does not have lead from the water treatment plant to your front doorstep, the minute it touches the pipes in your basement it could be exposed to lead which has known health risks to young children who consume it.

We have multiple certified lead removal filters available in our Evolve line of products; whether you would like to remove it just at the sink you use to fill your bottles or your entire house, we have a solution you can trust to make sure your new bundle of joy isn’t getting any lead mixed into their formula.

Another option would be to purchase bottled water to mix your formula with. When choosing bottled water, be sure to find one marked “purified” or “distilled.” Also, unless the bottled water is marked sterile, it is best to boil the water to kill any impurities. Often times major brands of bottled water have had to issue a recall on their products because they have become contaminated with bacteria. The bacteria involved usually will not cause any long-term health effects, more so nausea or diarrhea in a normal adult. For young children, excessive diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it is best to avoid as much of an upset stomach as possible.

Well Water

Well water can have many impurities in it. Unlike city life, a well’s water comes straight from the ground before you use it in your home, so there is no pre-treatment involved to make sure that water is safe to drink. It is crucial to have your private well tested annually to check for anything that can make you and your family sick. One of the main contaminants to check for when using well water for infant formula is nitrates. Nitrates are naturally found in groundwater; however, high levels are not natural or healthy to drink regularly. High levels of nitrates happen when there is contamination from other sources such as fertilizers and animal waste. The maximum recommended level for nitrates in drinking water is 10mg/L for a healthy adult, but children and pregnant women should avoid it completely.

They are dangerous for babies, especially those younger than 6 months old. Nitrates can lead to methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome, which reduces the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. The first symptoms include blue skin discoloration around the mouth, hands, and feet. Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased saliva, loss of consciousness, seizures, and in severe cases, death. If you think your child may be suffering from methemoglobinemia, please contact your medical provider immediately.

Boiling water will not remove nitrates like it can for bacteria, in fact, it can have the opposite effect. As water molecules evaporate during boiling, it can lead to an increased concentration of nitrates. The only way to remove nitrates is through filtration and it is important to look for a filter that is specifically certified for nitrate removal. Nitrates are a tasteless, odorless contaminant so the only way to know for sure that the filter has removed anything is if it is tested and certified by a trusted laboratory and earned their seal of approval.

Which is Best?

Any type of water will work for mixing your baby’s formula, as long as it is safe from contaminants and impurities. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s directions for mixing and storing formula. If you have specific questions about feeding your baby, please contact your medical provider.

Water Concerns?

Are you concerned about the water your family is drinking? Our Evolve UltroWater reverse osmosis drinking water system is certified to reduce lead in city water and nitrates in well water. Give us a call today! One of our Evolve technicians can test your water to know exactly what you might be dealing with inside your home. With our full line of Evolve water treatment systems, we’ll find the right solution for you!

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