I’m very picky about the taste of my water. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I could close my eyes and tell you which water came from the tap and which came from a bottle. To avoid wasting plastic, I use a Brita filter to improve the taste of the city water from my tap. I even use that water for cooking and ice cubes. While I was visiting my friend and her infant recently, she prepared his formula using the water from the tap. I was concerned about the chemicals in the water for a moment, but she explained that her doctor gave her the green light based on their town’s individual water levels. However, he did recommend she let the water run from the faucet for a moment first. I thought more about it, and I decided to look into the requirements for “healthy” tap water as it relates to baby formula.

Before you use regular tap water in your baby’s formula, check with your local utility company about the fluoride content. Studies show that too much fluoride in a baby’s system can lead to a permanent condition called enamel fluorosis. The condition is not harmful, but it will leave white spots or streaks on your baby’s permanent teeth when they emerge. The fluoride content in your local water system should be 0.7mg or less to be considered safe for baby.

If there is too much fluoride and you don’t have a home water treatment system that can remove it, you could buy bottled water for the formula. Bottled water must be filtered to a certain degree, and it cannot be sold if the fluoride content is high. If you use water from a well outside of your home, have the water tested in advance. Getting it tested when you find out that you’re expecting is a good idea so that you have time to prepare if it is not suitable.

Some cities and towns don’t have safe drinking water, and there might be a boil order in that case. If your doctor or local government recommends that you boil water before using it in formula, make sure it comes to a full boil and then is fully cooled before using it.

Even if you’re stuck buying bottled water until your baby eats solid foods, you’ll probably be fine with taking any measure to ensure your baby’s health.

Source: Fatemeh Zohoori et al: Impact of Water Fluoride Concentration on the Fluoride Content of Infant Food and Drinks Requiring Preparation with Liquids Before Feeding. Community of Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology Volume 40 Issue 5 pp. 432-440 October 2012