When preparing baby formula, it is essential that you mix it properly with safe and clean drinking water as directed by the formula’s packaging. But the question arises whether the faucet water is safe and can be used in your baby’s formula or should it be heated before using it?
Whether your home has a private well or you use the city water which comes from a community water treatment plant; you will want to find out how safe your drinking water is, especially if you are pregnant or have to prepare your baby’s formula.
Water quality is something that must be given proper importance, so is it OK to use tap water for baby formula?
Reasons for getting your water tested.
It may contain possible contaminants
Although the US does have safe drinking water in most locations, water can still be contaminated with lead or other pollutants such as copper, cadmium, nitrate, mercury, arsenic, radium or selenium.
Drinking water and the toxins it contains depends on the location you’re in, your water may contain chromium-6, or it could contain nothing. If you are unsure about using tap water, then get your water tested before using it.
Babies have a weak immune system
This is an additional reason why water quality is very important. Infants and children are very vulnerable to contaminants that may be present in your drinking water, and that is used for infant formula.
Since baby’s immune system is still developing, contaminated water can cause illness and also affect the baby’s development. Similarly, older people and pregnant women are also in jeopardy because their immune system is less robust as compared to everyone else. However, low levels of lead in the blood can also affect your child’s ability to pay attention and their IQ level.
It is very important to baby proof your tap water
Get your water baby proofed with the following steps:
- Have Your Water Tested For Pollutants
- If you don’t have a private well and use city water instead; then visit your local water borough’s website and check the consumer confidence report that all municipalities are required to post. If all is good, then the consumer confidence report will let you know. You can also talk to the water folks to find out what is being done to fix any issue’s in the city’ water lines.
- If your city water has a good consumer confidence report, you can surely use it to prepare infant formula or thin out the baby food. Even if your city water is perfectly fine, you can still get your water tested to know if any contaminants may be coming from the pipes into your household.
- If you use well water then you won’t have a consumer confidence report; instead, you’ll have to get the water tested yourself. With a baby in the house, you will have to make sure that your well water does not have nitrates in them.
Find products that reduce contamination in drinking water
If you can’t find a consumer confidence report or have time to get your water verified, then you don’t have to worry. With the advancements made, there are many products available that can protect your water supply in the meantime. There are plenty of products that are certified to purify tap water. If you find lead in your tap water and wish to reduce it then don’t worry, you can reduce lead by buying a filtration product certified for reducing lead and use it. Similarly, if you want to reduce arsenic, you can get a filter that reduces arsenic as well.
How to Use Tap Water
- When using tap water for baby formula, it is essential that you ask your baby’s health provider for approval, particularly if your baby has any health problems.
- It is recommended that parents do not use water that comprises high levels of fluoride when you mix concentrated or powdered baby formula.
High levels of fluoride can place the risk of enamel fluorosis in your baby. This is a condition that progresses in the baby while the teeth are getting shaped in the gums; it is not a sickness but does result in white spots of faint white lines being formed on the teeth that may be permanent. Make sure to check if your tap water has ample of normal fluoride- 0.7mg/l or higher, or is fluoridated; do contemplate on using a low fluoride alternate water source.
- If you are using tap water for the baby’s formula, then it is better that you use the cold-water tap and let the water to run for a few minutes before using it for the formula. This decreases the chances of lead or other contaminants being present.
Cold water is advised because many homes use plumbing with lead and hot water can increase the lead which can lead to lead poisoning.
This ensures tap water can definitely be used for your baby’s formula, but it is crucial that you check the reports on tap water to know what minerals or contaminations are present in it. Also, talk to your baby’s health provider to get a much better opinion on tap water report regarding what minerals are present and what is lacking.
Alternatives to tap water
- Apart from tap water, you can also use boiling water. However, it is important to keep in mind that you can always boil the tap water but do not boil the water for more than a minute and allow it to cool down to body temperature before using this water in the baby’s formula.
- You can also use sterile water for infants who have a higher risk of being sick, and this water is strictly advised for premature babies who are in the newborn care division.
WHO Guide For Preparing Baby Formula
WHO- World Health Organization issued out a guideline to make sure that the baby formula is safely prepared, stored and handled after expert found out that the baby formula was not hygienic and was putting babies in danger of getting a bacterial infection.
To reduce the chances of your newborn getting sick, you should follow the rules mentioned below:
- Make sure to clean and sanitize the surfaces you are using and rinse your hands with soap, properly before starting the baby formula preparations.
- Boil the water even if the water you are using is bottled.
- Let the boiled water cool but don’t let it cool for more than thirty minutes and pour this water in a clean and sterilized baby’s bottle.
- Add the crushed formula to the water but make sure that the amount of the formula is exact.
- Close and put together the bottle and shake the grounded baby formula thoroughly.
- Now you can cool the water bottle by placing it under a cool tap water faucet or place it in a vessel that has ice water in it.
- Dry the baby’s bottle with a fresh cloth.
- Don’t forget to look over the temperature of the baby’s formula by placing a drop of it on your finger- make sure that it is warm but not too hot causing your baby’s mouth to get burned.
- Only give your baby the formula if the temperature of the formula is appropriate.
Formula Safety Tips
After preparing the baby’s formula, you have to follow some simple instructions to make sure your baby is safe.
- If you don’t plan on putting the prepared baby formula in the fridge, then make sure you feed the formula to your baby and not use it over a 24-hour period.
- If your baby does not finish the formula within an hour or two, don’t place the baby bottle in the fridge after using it. Instead throw it away and make sure to prepare a smaller amount of formula next time.
- Follow the baby formula instructions exactly as written and do not dilute or make the formula too concentrated until your pediatricians tell you to.