As parents, the only thing that we care about is the safety and health of our little one. If you are not breastfeeding, one of your primary concerns would be choosing safe drinking water for preparing your baby’s formula.
A lot of experts have raved about the health benefits of reverse osmosis water filtration systems. But do these benefits apply to infants too? Should you use reverse osmosis water for your baby’s formula?
The answer is plain simple—yes, it is safe to use reverse osmosis water in preparing your baby’s formula. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends parents to use tap water from a reverse osmosis water filter system in diluting infant formula.
Why Reverse Osmosis Water Is Safe for Baby Formula?
This is because this type of water has undergone a reverse osmosis filtration system which renders it free from chemicals, especially fluoride and chlorine, which may be hazardous to your baby’s health. These two chemicals are commonly found in most types of drinking water.
While the lack of fluoride is the main reason why experts recommend the use of RO water for baby formula, but this type of water offers more health benefits that infants can enjoy. These are as follows:
Reduced Risk of Lead Contamination
The reverse osmosis process also ensures that the water does not contain heavy metals, such as lead. Exposure to this chemical may cause severe anemia and brain damage to infants and children.
Lower Sodium Content
Another chemical that this filtration process removes is sodium. Sodium is indeed a necessary ion for regular body functions. However, babies only need a small amount of sodium in their diet because too much of it can be harmful to his developing kidneys.
Most people shy away from drinking RO water because they believe that it is devoid of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, and the likes.
But the truth is, certain types of reverse osmosis water filtration systems will add essential minerals to the water after the filtration process.
If you want to enjoy nutrient-rich water, it is recommended that you use an RO water filtration system that is equipped with a red mineral filter and carbonate.
This added feature ensures that the drinking water does not contain any contaminants or harmful chemicals but is still infused with the minerals that your baby needs.
Concerns About Using Fluoridated Water for Your Baby’s Formula
Breastmilk contains the right amount of fluoride that babies need, so this won’t be an issue for breastfeeding mothers. To provide the needs of babies, most formula manufacturers enrich their products with fluoride.
If you are feeding your child with fluoride-enriched infant formula, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises parents to avoid using fluoridated water in preparing baby formula to prevent the medical conditions associated with infant fluoride exposure.
Parents must adhere to this recommendation since it has been noted that fluoridated water contains 250 times more fluoride than breastmilk.
How Too Much Fluoride Can Affect Your Baby
We all know fluoride to be a chemical that can protect the teeth’s enamel and prevent tooth decay. So why should you protect your baby from it? That is because high levels of fluoride can cause dental or enamel fluorosis in infants.
Fluorosis may not be a tooth disease, but it can have a significant impact on the appearance of your baby’s developing teeth. This condition is manifested by white streaks or spots on the enamel of your baby’s teeth and will stay on it until your child grows.
Moreover, Flouridealert also states that thyroid impairment and reduced IQ have also been recently linked to infant fluoride exposure.
Tips in Using Different Types of Water for Baby Formula
If you do not have a reverse osmosis water filtration system at home, what other types of water can you use for your baby’s formula?
Different types of water may look the same, but please do know that not all of them are safe for your baby. To ensure the health and safety of your baby, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the mineral and chemical content of the drinking water.
Additionally, you should understand that you can carry out extra precautions to ensure that the drinking water you will use will not cause harm to your little one. With that in mind, please take a look at these tips on how to use different types of drinking water in preparing your baby’s formula.
Same with reverse osmosis water, distilled water has undergone a process that effectively removes contaminants and chemicals, especially fluoride. This is why many people use distilled water for baby formula.
If you want to be extra safe, you can look for bottled water products that are labeled as demineralized, deionized, or low-fluoride. You may even want to look for bottled water items that are marketed specifically for infants.
But despite undergoing the rigorous distillation process, health experts from Canada still recommend boiling the water first before using it in the formula. This is to ensure that the water is completely free of bacteria.
Tap water is considered to be a low-cost alternative to bottled water. However, the quality and safety of tap water may vary from one area to another.
If you are using a public water system in your home, it is recommended that you ask your local water facility about the fluoride content of your water supply.
If it is 0.7 mg/ L or higher, you should use other types of water such as RO water or distilled water. If the fluoride content is less than 0.7 mg, then you can use the tap water for baby formula.
If you have decided to use tap water in preparing the infant formula, your primary concern would be lead contamination. To avoid that, it is recommended that you use the water from the cold-water faucet instead of the warm or hot one.
This is because most plumbing systems are made with either lead or lead solder. When the hot water passes through it, it can concentrate the lead and increase the chances of lead poisoning.
To avoid possible mineral contamination, you should let the water run for 15 to 20 seconds before collecting it.
Since tap water is monitored continuously and warnings are provided if the risk of contamination is present, bacterial contamination is the least of your concern when you use tap water. But given the fact that the immune system of babies is a lot weaker, you may want to play it safe by adding boiling to the formula preparation process.
If your home uses a well instead of a public water system, the best thing that you can do is to have the water tested for the presence of contaminants, especially nitrates.
If it has contaminants, you should go for other water sources because boiling is not enough to remove the possible contaminants that it has. In fact, boiling it may even make the contaminants, especially nitrates, more concentrated.
How to Boil Water for Baby Formula
As you may have noticed, boiling is a recommended step, no matter what type of water you plan on using for your baby’s formula.
This is because of the concept that hot temperatures can kill bacteria and other microorganisms. When preparing the water for your baby formula, please keep in mind that there are some guidelines that you need to keep in mind.
- Boil the water for 1 minute. It should not be longer than that because doing so can increase the concentration of unwanted chemicals or impurities.
- Allow the water to cool to room temperature before preparing the formula. Mixing baby formula with boiling water can cause clumping and decreased nutritional value.
- Use the boiled water in mixing the formula within 30 minutes of boiling it.
Tap water may be the most affordable water of choice for preparing baby formula. But if you want to ensure the safety and health of your baby, it would be a wise move to install a reverse osmosis water filtration system in your home.
Doing so can improve the quality of your tap water. At the same time, you can decrease the chances of fluorosis and mineral overdose in your baby.