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Can I use softened water for mixing baby feeds?

We don’t recommend using softened water for baby formula milk or baby food 

Why not?

While softened water is healthy and safe for most children and adults to consume, there’s an exception for babies (particularly for those six weeks and under). The Drinking Water Inspectorate sets out a limit for infants of 200 mg sodium per litre in the Drinking Water Regulations. 

This limit was adopted to make sure that the total sodium levels in baby feeds, plus the water added, does not exceed 350 mg/l, which is considered a safe level for infants. The reason for this is that some babies’ kidneys are not fully formed and the baby feed is created to contain the correct amount of sodium. The additional sodium in softened water upsets this delicate balance. Please refer to the baby feed instructions for further advice.

You can use softened water for baby feeds if the sodium concentration in your newly softened water is below the 200 mg/l limit for sodium. In most cases, water softened by a Harvey water softener will have more than 200 mg/l of sodium. So, it isn’t recommended unless you are sure that the sodium concentration in your household’s softened water is below this level. 

The NHS provides some clear and helpful information about making up formula milk for babies, if you choose to use it. They recommend using drinking water from the drinking water tap and advise you not to use bottled water or artificially softened water for baby formula. You must boil the water first and allow it to cool for up to 30 minutes before mixing up the feed. 

Is it safe to drink softened water?

While it is safe to drink softened water, we don’t suggest using softened water for mixing baby feeds or drinking softened water if you’re on a medically-supervised, low-sodium diet. Read more here.

When we install a water softener, we do include a natural water supply drinking water tap in the package. That means you will have a separate tap that provides unsoftened water to drink. You can safely use this water supply for making up baby formula and feeds. If you already have a water softener but no drinking water tap, please get in touch – we may be able to fit one for you. 

View our range of water filters – they’re all compatible with our drinking water taps. We offer both active carbon and So Clear filters, so that you can keep your water clear of minerals. Find out more today. 

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