Commercial formula is not as good as breast milk. Formula doesn’t contain antibodies to fight infection or certain other ingredients found in breast milk. However, it is a close enough replica to keep your infant safe and growing.
The current baby formula shortage is making it incredibly stressful for many families to find the formula they need to feed their little ones. Nearly 40% of popular baby formula brands were sold out at retailers across the country at the end of April, according to a recent analysis by Datasembly – worsening the shortage from 31% two weeks prior.
If you’re struggling to find infant formula in stock, you may have come across homemade baby formula recipes online. The internet is full of recipes for making your own formula at home. It can seem like a good idea at first: some vague thoughts about “familiar” ingredients instead of the “chemicals” in formula. But for infants, whose kidneys are not fully mature, the electrolyte balance of their formula is really important. Regular intake of the wrong electrolyte balance can be very harmful – even deadly.
Remember, everything naturally occurring also has a scientific name. “Sodium chloride” is table salt. “Cholecalciferol” is one name for Vitamin D. The “chemicals” in formula are typically things that are found in milk. Formula manufacturers use them in their pure form, so that they can precisely control the balance of those ingredients. Different sources or brands of agave nectar, maple syrup or other recipe ingredients will have different amounts of sugar, salt, and vitamins. There’s no way for a parent to be sure if their ingredients add up to a safe mixture or a very dangerous one.
The FDA on its website “strongly advises” parents against making their own baby formula. In 2021, a Delaware hospital said it had two babies in intensive care after they were given homemade formula. The babies had “hypocalcemia — blood calcium levels that are too low — with cardiac and nervous system problems from the nutritional deficits.
In addition to avoiding homemade formula, parents are discouraged from giving children watered-down or imported versions, as they could pose risks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What’s the alternative for parent’s unable to find baby food?
- If you can, breastfeed.
- If the shortage has left your store shelves empty, one expert suggests trying to visit smaller shops.
- Switch formula brands. Buy from a reputable retailer, that the formula meets the nutrient requirements of the U.S. formula act for an iron-fortified infant formula and (meets) government regulations
- Turn to breastmilk donation banks. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, for example, can help find a bank near you. You can also look through local listings for other accredited, nonprofit banks.
- Talk to your pediatrician. If your child is over 6 months old, you can also start to slowly supplement nutrition with some solids.
- Online groups have formed in several states to help parents find out which products are available.
- If shopping around doesn’t work, you may want to reach out to your child’s doctor or a center that serves families.
Source: Internet, CDC, FDA, Medical News & Others
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.