Parenting & Family

Regular Tap Water for Formula?

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  • Jul 30th, 2015 9:41 am
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[OP]
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Jan 8, 2015
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Outremont, QC

Regular Tap Water for Formula?

I notice that some parenting websites, including at least a couple run by the Mayo Clinic, recommend using straight unboiled tap water for preparing infant formula if there are no known issues with your local water supply.

My wife and I assiduously boil our water, but I'm starting to wonder whether that's actually a waste of time. Our three-month-old merrily stuffs her mouth with blankets, thumbs and whatever else is handy without any health consequences, so why this obsession with boiling ordinary city tap water?

Does anyone out there have an opinion on this?
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Aug 22, 2011
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There's kids in third world countries drinking water that they bath in...
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vkizzle wrote: There's kids in third world countries drinking water that they bath in...
Are you sure they do that? Because I'm pretty sure they don't. Actually, most people in less developed countries understands that boiling water is a basic hygienic necessity.

Also, while boiling water may not be entirely necessary here, it takes all of what... two minutes to do? It's one of the things that given our level of technology and development, requires minimal effort and time to do and could potentially offer significant benefits in terms of healthcare.
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May 28, 2012
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Saskatoon
Would boiled water (while still warm) be better for mixing in the formula?
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It's not necessary. I just do it for peace of mind, especially since I use liquid concentrate formula (which is sterile, unlike the powder). It may give some minimal protection in case something somehow got onto your bottle or nipple.
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Winkle wrote: Are you sure they do that? Because I'm pretty sure they don't. Actually, most people in less developed countries understands that boiling water is a basic hygienic necessity.

Also, while boiling water may not be entirely necessary here, it takes all of what... two minutes to do? It's one of the things that given our level of technology and development, requires minimal effort and time to do and could potentially offer significant benefits in terms of healthcare.
You're missing the point.
The quality of water in which we have access to is nothing to worry about.
Do you really believe boiling feces infested water is that much effective???
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vkizzle wrote: You're missing the point.
The quality of water in which we have access to is nothing to worry about.
Do you really believe boiling feces infested water is that much effective???
No, the actual point is weighing your risks.

Tap water here is quite clean for certain but it isn't perfect, and the probability of getting contaminated water is very low but it does exists. The risk for a newborn to 12 months old is substantially greater because they haven't had most of their vaccine shots yet, or the opportunity to develop their immune system to tolerate the pathogens that wouldn't bother an adult or even a toddler on a regular day. And no, boiling water doesn't make it 100% sanitary but it does kill off a lot of potential pathogens.

Boiling water takes what, maybe 2 to 3 minutes? And it eats up even less of your time then that unless you're standing there watching the water boil. So really it takes less than a minute to fill the kettle and turn it on or put it on the stove, which adds up to less than 10 minutes a day even if you're boiling water every 3 hrs for feeding a newborn.

The point is, even if the risk is minimal, not boiling your water will maybe save you 10 minutes a day at the most. Whether you think that's worth it or not is up to you.

The way I see it, it's like wearing a seatbelt. What are the chances you'll be involved in a ejection-level collision event on any given car trip? 99% or more of the time you don't actually need a seatbelt, but that one time you do it may very well save your life so you wear it anyway. To me, boiling drinking/formula water for a newborn is the same thing.
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We always used boiled, then cooled, water.

^ because, what Winkle said. :)
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jerryhung wrote: We used Hot water dispenser + cold water (RO)
peace of mind really, and mom is usually super worried at stage anyway
natalka wrote: We always used boiled, then cooled, water.

^ because, what Winkle said. :)
Ok, so where is this cool and cold water coming from?
if it's not freshly boiled, isn't it now contaminated now from being exposed and sitting?
Since you can't directly mix boiled water with powered formula, mixing it with cool cold water negates the point of boiled water.

Point is, if it's such a concern, just switch to liquid formula!
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You kids are going to have allergies for the rest of their life!

You HAVE to expose your kids to contaminants. If the water is safe for you, it is safe for the kid! You WANT their immune system to be exposed to pathogens. Not that there is much in tap water. If their immune system is not exposed at an early age, it will find other things to work on, like pollen. That is why babies get sick all the time. That is a good thing. It builds up their immunity. You do have to worry about some diseases, and address them through vaccination, but you do not have to worry about what is in tap water.
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If you're going to use tap water I'd suggest getting the city to test the water first. Lots (?) of Toronto neighbourhoods with old lead pipes... At the very least run the water for a minute before using it...
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i actually wonder about this too.

all the formula packages say to boil water - we never did (we used bottle water)

no idea why bottled water isn't an option on the formula bottles

i always assumed the formula company was covering their ass because they have no idea where you live ... nor your water type. Someone living in the sticks off well water in the GTA may need to boil their water.
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Of legitimate things to be concerned about exposing a baby to, this is the lowest in the list.
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vkizzle wrote: Ok, so where is this cool and cold water coming from?
if it's not freshly boiled, isn't it now contaminated now from being exposed and sitting?
Since you can't directly mix boiled water with powered formula, mixing it with cool cold water negates the point of boiled water.

Point is, if it's such a concern, just switch to liquid formula!
Would boil just as much as needed for the day, stored in a closed container once cooled. It's not like I left it in the kettle.
[OP]
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Jan 8, 2015
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I wonder how many Canadian babies die or fall ill every year from exposure to urban tap water?
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vkizzle wrote: Ok, so where is this cool and cold water coming from?
if it's not freshly boiled, isn't it now contaminated now from being exposed and sitting?
Since you can't directly mix boiled water with powered formula, mixing it with cool cold water negates the point of boiled water.
You store it in a clean, enclosed container. Cleaning a container once a day also takes negligible amount of time and effort. This isn't rocket science.

bridonca wrote: If the water is safe for you, it is safe for the kid!
No, no it's not, especially for newborns to 12 months. This is so far from the truth its not even funny.

bridonca wrote: You WANT their immune system to be exposed to pathogens. Not that there is much in tap water. If their immune system is not exposed at an early age, it will find other things to work on, like pollen. That is why babies get sick all the time. That is a good thing. It builds up their immunity. You do have to worry about some diseases, and address them through vaccination, but you do not have to worry about what is in tap water.
Yes, but you want to control their exposure accordingly and reasonably. A newborn to 12 month old have relatively weak and underdeveloped immune systems. Exposing them to too much or certain pathogens, while their immune system is still developing can have some serious negative effects and could even permanently damage the effectiveness of their immune system or their health. That old adage of "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is completely false.

I am not advocating that our children live in bubbles, nor am I saying they should be freely exposed to as many things as possible, but there is a nice balanced middle ground you can find that benefits them the most while controlling their risks in a reasonable and logical manner.

Yes, tap water is generally not a concern. And again, boiling water takes almost no time and effort, you are talking about saving a few minutes a day at the most. What I am saying is that boiling water is not an absolute necessity but it is a good idea.

milolai wrote: no idea why bottled water isn't an option on the formula bottles
You probably could, may just get expensive over the long run.

MrsPotato wrote: Of legitimate things to be concerned about exposing a baby to, this is the lowest in the list.
It is low. However, the risk mitigation involved requires almost no time and effort. You have to weigh the risk and determine if it's worth it or not.

PaulDregs wrote: I wonder how many Canadian babies die or fall ill every year from exposure to urban tap water?
Probably extremely low although likely difficult to determine. But then again we can go back to the seat-belt metaphor for this, how many Canadians die every year from not wearing their seat-belts? Last year 50 people died in Ontario from not wearing their seat belts, out of many millions of drivers and hundreds of millions of car trips so that wouldn't even constitute as a fraction of a percent, but I bet you still think wearing them is a good idea.
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Winkle wrote: You store it in a clean, enclosed container. Cleaning a container once a day also takes negligible amount of time and effort. This isn't rocket science.

No, no it's not, especially for newborns to 12 months. This is so far from the truth its not even funny.

Yes, but you want to control their exposure accordingly and reasonably. A newborn to 12 month old have relatively weak and underdeveloped immune systems. Exposing them to too much or certain pathogens, while their immune system is still developing can have some serious negative effects and could even permanently damage the effectiveness of their immune system or their health. That old adage of "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is completely false.

I am not advocating that our children live in bubbles, nor am I saying they should be freely exposed to as many things as possible, but there is a nice balanced middle ground you can find that benefits them the most while controlling their risks in a reasonable and logical manner.

Yes, tap water is generally not a concern. And again, boiling water takes almost no time and effort, you are talking about saving a few minutes a day at the most. What I am saying is that boiling water is not an absolute necessity but it is a good idea.

You probably could, may just get expensive over the long run.

It is low. However, the risk mitigation involved requires almost no time and effort. You have to weigh the risk and determine if it's worth it or not.

Probably extremely low although likely difficult to determine. But then again we can go back to the seat-belt metaphor for this, how many Canadians die every year from not wearing their seat-belts? Last year 50 people died in Ontario from not wearing their seat belts, out of many millions of drivers and hundreds of millions of car trips so that wouldn't even constitute as a fraction of a percent, but I bet you still think wearing them is a good idea.
Is your kid inside a bubble?
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vkizzle wrote: Is your kid inside a bubble?
Nope.

I used to spend may be 3 minutes a day boiling water, cleaning the container and storing it for a day. Three minutes, a day, big whoop. Yeah I really wish I could get them back.

Anyways, the point you keep driving at is that boiling water isn't necessary, and funny enough I have never argued that although you seem to keep missing it. What I've been saying all this time is that boiling water isn't a bad idea given just how little time and effort it requires, and it won't make the water quality worst (unless you use a rusty kettle). That is the point that no one has been able to refute, nor will anyone be able to because it is a perfectly rational and reasonable thing to do.
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Aug 16, 2011
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Winkle wrote: Are you sure they do that? Because I'm pretty sure they don't. Actually, most people in less developed countries understands that boiling water is a basic hygienic necessity.

Also, while boiling water may not be entirely necessary here, it takes all of what... two minutes to do? It's one of the things that given our level of technology and development, requires minimal effort and time to do and could potentially offer significant benefits in terms of healthcare.
actually it's true, there are places where formula is pushed on people in third world countries and babies get really sick and die because they don't have access to clean water. Some people are not economically able to spend the extra money to boil water.

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