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Bottle Feeding
Water for Formula
By Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD

Jennifer FrancisQ. Are you supposed to use tap water, distilled water, a different kind of bottled water, or water that's been boiled or something completely different for mixing formula?

A. Most formula companies hedge on this question and tell you to ask your doctor or local health department. Some sources say it is okay to use tap water if you are on a city water system and feel confident that your water is safe. But my most trusted sources say that the BEST practice is to use boiled water that has been allowed to cool to room temperature.

A few guidelines:

  • Run COLD tap water a minute or so. This helps reduce the risk of lead or other mineral contamination

  • Make sure to allow the water to return to room temp *before* mixing the formula. The extreme heat of boiling water can destroy some of the nutrients in formula, and of course, you don't want to burn the baby!

  • Do not boil water more than once. This concentrates any impurities that might be present.

  • If you use bottled water, make sure it specifically says "sterilized," because not all bottled water is sterilized. If it does not say "sterilized," then you should boil it, just like tap water.

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