You’ve probably heard that are some rules around the type of water you should use for baby formula. But is it okay to use filtered water for this purpose?
We’ve answered this question and discussed everything else you probably want to know in this article.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- Yes, you can use filtered water for formula, as long as you boil the water to kill potential germs in the baby formula for babies younger than three months old.
- While filtered water is cleaner than normal tap water, it still needs to be boiled before using for your baby’s formula for sterilization purposes.
- Better alternatives to filtered water for baby formula are reverse osmosis water and distilled water, which are purer than filtered water and free from all harmful contaminants.
Table of Contents
- 🤔 Can You Use Filtered Water To Prepare Baby Formula?
- 🔎 Why Is Filtered Water Better Than Tap Water For Baby Formula?
- ♨️ Why Should You Still Boil Filtered Water Before Using It For Formula?
- 💯 Best Alternative To Filtered Water For Preparing Infant Formula
- ⛔️ When You Can Stop Boiling Filtered Water For Infant Formula
- 📑 Final Word
- ❔ FAQ
🤔 Can You Use Filtered Water To Prepare Baby Formula?
Yes, you can use filtered water to prepare baby formula. That applies to any type of filtered water, including water from:
- Refrigerator filters
- Faucet-mount filters
- Under-sink water filters
- Reverse osmosis systems
- Whole-house water filters
- Water filter pitchers
However, the same rules apply for filtered water as for normal tap water: according to the CDC, you should still boil the water for babies that are less than three months old, then wait around five minutes before mixing it with powdered infant formula.
🔎 Why Is Filtered Water Better Than Tap Water For Baby Formula?
Filtered water is better than tap water for baby formula because it’s cleaner and purer.
Filtered water lacks many of the contaminants that are present in trace amounts in tap water. Most tap water supplies are chlorinated, and over 70% of the US population had fluoridated tap water according to CDC data gathered in 2020.
There are hundreds of other contaminants that are present in many water supplies, including heavy metals like lead, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, PFAS, pesticides, and chromium-6.
These contaminants are legally acceptable (with the exception of a few, like lead) and not thought to have health effects in low levels in our water supplies. You might personally drink tap water without additional filtration and have no concerns. However, you may be worried about the effects of these drinking water contaminants on a baby.
Many water filters can greatly reduce or remove these contaminants, improving your tap water quality and making it safer to use in your baby’s formula.
♨️ Why Should You Still Boil Filtered Water Before Using It For Formula?
You might be wondering why it’s still recommended to boil filtered water when using it for prepared formula for very young babies. If your water has been filtered to remove contaminants, why do you need to employ an additional purification method?
The reason is that, regardless of your water quality or purity, there may still be harmful bacteria in the infant formula itself, and that’s why boiling water is a necessary step.
When you boil water, the boiling process can’t physically remove contaminants, but it produces very hot water (around 212°F), which can kill bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms.
So, using filtered, boiled water offers two safety benefits in one, protecting your baby from being exposed to too much fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, and other dangerous contaminants, as well as killing dangerous microorganisms that could make your baby sick.
Make sure to give the water enough time to cool before using it to feed your baby. The temperature should be around 98.6°F, or body temperature. Put a few drops of the prepared formula on the inside of your wrist to check the temperature – it should feel lukewarm.
💯 Best Alternative To Filtered Water For Preparing Infant Formula
Filtered water is great for preparing baby formula because it’s free from many of the contaminants that could be harmful to your baby’s health. However, filtered water isn’t purified water, and filters aren’t capable of removing everything from a water source.
If you want to protect your baby from all the impurities that may possibly exist in your water, we recommend treating your tap water with a reverse osmosis system or a water distiller.
Water distillation and reverse osmosis are two processes that result in purified water (which is free from up to 99.99% of all total dissolved solids). A reverse osmosis system uses a semi-permeable membrane to separate water from its impurities, while a water distiller boils water until it evaporates, then facilitates the condensing of the water vapor in a clean container.
We don’t recommend that you skip the boiling water stage even if you use purified water to mix infant formula. We’ve seen some sources that say you don’t need to boil water if it’s distilled or purified, but we disagree.
Remember, the purpose of boiling the water is to kill bacteria and microorganisms that may be present in the formula itself. So, even if you use pre-purified water with the formula, you still need to make the water very hot in order to make the formula microbiologically safe for a baby under three months old.
⛔️ When You Can Stop Boiling Filtered Water For Infant Formula
The CDC and other trusted sources say that you should use boiled water for infant formula for the first two-to-three months of your baby’s life.
After this time, you can continue to use filtered drinking water for mixing formula, and there’s no need to boil it first.
There are a few reasons why you may choose to continue to boil your water beyond your baby’s first two-to-three months:
- If your baby was born prematurely
- If your baby has a weakened immune system
Contact a healthcare advisor if you’re uncertain or need specific advice about boiling water for formula in your situation.
📑 Final Word
To sum up, yes, you can use filtered water for formula, and it’s certainly a more appealing alternative to normal water straight from the tap, which often contains trace levels of fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, and other unwanted contaminants.
When making baby formula for a very young baby, remember to boil the water to sterilize the formula before mixing. You should do this regardless of whether you’re using normal tap water, fridge filtered water, or any other type of purified or bottled water.
Can you use bottled water for infant formula?
Yes, you can use bottled water for formula. We recommend using distilled bottled water, or some kind of filtered or purified bottled water (such as low-fluoride bottled water) if you’re concerned about specific tap water contaminants. The water will still need to be boiled for sterilization purposes when mixing with your baby’s formula (if the baby is under three months).
Can I use filtered water instead of distilled water for formula?
Yes, you can use filtered water instead of distilled water for baby formula. However, filtered water may still contain traces of contaminants that distilled water should be free from, including chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, heavy metals, and other trace impurities that are found in most tap water supplies. Distilled water is cleaner, purer, and safer.
Is fridge filtered water sterile?
No, fridge filtered water isn’t sterile. For starters, this water is filtered, not purified, so there’s no guarantee that it’s free from all impurities. Plus, no type of filtered drinking water will sterilize your infant formula – only boiling the water will do this. So, it’s totally okay to use filtered refrigerator water for your baby’s formula, but make sure to follow the usual procedure and boil the water before mixing.
Is it better to boil or filter water for formula?
If your baby is younger than three months old, it’s better to boil tap water for formula than filter it. While filtering is an optional (and advisable) extra step, which will remove trace contaminants from your tap water, boiling is essential regardless of the purity of your water source. Making your water very hot is the only way to sterilize your formula and kill any germs that might exist in there.
Can I use normal tap water for preparing infant formula?
Yes, you can usually use normal tap water to prepare infant formula, following the same rules as outlined in this article (boiling the water to sterilize the formula if your baby is younger than three months old). You should only use your municipal tap water if it’s safe to drink – which it should be. Check with your local water company for clarification.