Should I Use Tap Water Or Sterilized Water To Mix With Baby Formula? How Long Does It Stay Fresh To Drink? Are The Generic Formulas As Good As The Name Brand Formulas? Many Parents Have Questions When Feeding Their Baby Formula. Find Out How To Keep

Should I use tap water or sterilized water to mix with baby formula?  How long does it stay fresh to drink? Should I sterilize my baby bottles? Many parents have questions when feeding their baby formula. Find out how to keep your baby safe here.
Kim Grundy

Baby drinking out of bottle

After Similac recalled 5 million cans of its powdered formula because it may be contaminated with insect parts, many parents started to worry about baby formula safety.  The company said they doubted any of the tainted formula was sold and doctors reassured parents that little harm would come of babies who drank the tainted formula.

Although you should always keep a watchful eye on formula recalls and stop using the product immediately, the greatest harm to your baby is not always the formula, but these common mistakes that many parents make when preparing it.

Mistake #1: Using hot water from the tap

Even though your baby might like drinking warm formula better than cold formula, never use hot water from the tap when preparing it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states:  “Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead. “

In fact, you should run cold water through your facet for around 30 seconds to reduce lead exposure. You should also consider using cooled water that has been boiled when making baby formula, expecially during baby's first few months. Get specific recommendations from your doctor.

Mistake #2: Not sterilizing baby bottles

Before using a bottle for the first time, it is important you sterilize it to remove harmful bacteria. The microwaveable sterilizers are easy to use and work well. You can also place them in boiling water for 5 minutes. After sterilizing the bottles before the first use, from then on you will just need to wash the bottles in hot, soapy water or you can use a dishwasher if they are dishwater-safe.

Mistake #3: Keeping mixed formula out too long

Formula that is sitting out at room temperature must be thrown away after 1 hour. If it is in the refrigerator, pre-mixed formula (also called ready-to-feed formula) that is opened must be thrown out after 48 hours. Formula that you mixed must be thrown out after 24 hours.

Mistake #4: Re-using leftover formula

 If your baby does not drink all the formula within one hour, throw it out. Do not refrigerate a leftover bottle with formula with the intention of your baby drinkig it later because bacteria could make your baby sick.

Mistake #5: Not mixing the formula correctly

If you don’t add enough water, your baby could quickly become dehydrated and if you don’t add enough formula you baby will not get enough nutrients. Read the directions carefully and add the exact amount of water and formula that is recommended and shake the bottle thoroughly. Get more tips on the correct way to mix formula here.

More on baby health and feeding:

-- Breast milk is really best, says new genetic study

-- Which baby formula is best?

-- Chocolate baby formula is perfect gateway to obesity

- 5 Rules for buying safe, BPA-free baby bottles

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