The current baby formula shortage is affecting a lot of new mothers attempting to find alternatives for their infants. In desperation, some mothers may be turning to past methods such as homemade formula recipes from the 1950s and other means. Upon research, medical experts warn that this can pose potential risks to an infant.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the reason homemade formulas are bad is because they lack the specific nutritional needs of commercial formulas or breast milk in regard to the right balance of protein, vitamins, fats, and minerals that the baby can digest. In fact, cow’s milk for an infant six months or younger that you might be tempted to use has too high of a protein level that could potentially result in a protein allergy to cause brain related to gastrointestinal and respiratory problems in addition to skin reactions.
The unsuitability of cow’s milk may cause you to consider vegan milk as a substitution for your homemade baby formula. Again, you need to be careful. Of all the vegan milk formula options, the most common milk used is soy, which still isn’t wonderful for your baby. However, the general consensus is it is safe for a few days for a baby that is nearly a year old but no younger and if that soy milk is fortified with enough calcium and protein. Most vegan milk can lack the right amount of that essential calcium and protein that your baby needs to keep healthy.
This brings another question to mind about if it is safe to water down any remaining commercial formula that you still have on hand. Don’t even think about it is the advice from experts. You could put your baby at risk because doing so also improperly balances the nutrients that you are feeding the baby.
A baby of six months or older that doesn’t have a specialized formula due to allergies or some other health issue may be able to try whole cow’s milk briefly, if you check with your pediatrician. The doctor may want to supplement with iron or keep tabs on iron levels or decide against going that route all together.
If you’re searching to buy commercial formulas online or found some old containers, you also should remember to check for expiration dates as well as where those formulas were manufactured. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unreputable people trying to make a buck without a conscience of what they may be doing to harm others, especially the most innocent among us.
There are also other baby formula shortage resources available such as milk banks all over the country and through community organizations that can connect you to the right source in your area to manufacturer hotlines that may be able to help by submitting a request through your doctor.
The important thing to remember is that this baby formula shortage won’t last forever. Be vigilant and make those calls because there is help available.