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What kind of water should I use in my baby’s formula?

You’ve decided to feed your baby formula. The powdered and liquid concentrate formulas are a terrific alternative to the ready-to-use options – they’re convenient and less expensive. The question now is this: What kind of water should you use in your baby’s formula?

Types of water


Did you ever think you’d have so many options for water? There’s tap water, purified water, demineralized water, deionized water, spring water, vitamin water, sparkling water, distilled water and more.

Now baby is here and we have to really think about what’s in our water so we can mix it with her formula. The first thing you should do is talk to your baby’s pediatrician. He or she can recommend the best type (and the right amount) to mix with formula.

>>How often should I feed my baby?

Bottled water just for babies?

Some bottled waters are made specifically for use in preparing baby formula. If the label on the water bottle indicates that it’s made for babies, then the water has been bottled under strict standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Types of water to avoid

Refrain from giving your baby bottled mineral water, which contains sodium. Carbonated water is also a no-no. Both mineral and carbonated water will be hard on your baby’s digestive system and cause discomfort. Stick with the most basic water you can find.

>> How much formula does my baby need?

The pros and cons of fluoride

Many water sources contain fluoride, which is important for strengthening your baby’s teeth and preventing tooth decay. There’s a problem, however, if your baby gets too much fluoride. Overexposure to fluoride can cause enamel fluorosis — those telltale white spots on baby’s temporary and permanent teeth. (Your baby can be overexposed even while her teeth are still forming in the gums.) If your baby is taking a fluoride supplement — usually beginning at around six months — make sure you use only non-fluoridated bottled water with her formula.

Tip: Bottled water labels that read “purified,” “distilled,” “demineralized” or “deionized” typically contain lower amounts of fluoride, but keep in mind that bottled water companies are not required to list fluoride levels on labels.

What about tap water?

Tap water varies significantly from one municipality to another. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends checking with your local water utility to see what’s in your water supply. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages parents to boil tap water for one minute to sterilize it before adding to formula.

Tip: Tap water is considered safe and is a low-cost alternative to bottled waters. Consider installing a reverse osmosis water filter on your faucet to remove impurities and fluoride.

Drinking water

For the first six months of her life, your baby needs only the water contained in breast milk or mixed with formula. Her kidneys are still learning how to work, and too much water can wreak havoc on them an cause water intoxication. After your child turns six months old, check with her pediatrician about offering her small amounts of water to drink.

>> Weaning help: Breast, bottle and pacifier

More feeding info for mom

Which formula is best?
How to bottle feed babies without the guilt
Teaching your breastfed baby to take a bottle

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