By Johanna Hicks
With the shortage of infant formula on store shelves and uncertainty of when there may be new supplies, many people are turning to the internet and social media to find out how to make their infant formula at home. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension personnel advise worried mothers to check with their pediatricians about alternatives for feeding their infants to avoid nutrient and safety concerns surrounding homemade formulas.
Due to product recalls earlier this year and supply chain shortages, Google, Facebook, and other social media outlets have had a surge in articles or posts featuring how to make your infant formula at home. However, making your infant formula at home is not recommended and may even put your baby at risk. It can limit infants’ necessary nutrients for proper brain and overall development. In addition, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, making homemade infant formula can lose essential nutrients and increase the risk of bacterial contamination from water and household ingredients.
Some infants may be on specialized formulas, which may be more easily digested or tolerated due to other conditions. However, changing the ratio and type of formula may cause gastrointestinal and other complications for infants if a homemade recipe is substituted, according to Danielle Kreuger, registered dietitian and Extension Specialist.
Since infants need change as they age, there is a lot of opportunity for a recommendation based on the infant’s age. For example, if the infant is closer to one year of age, the formula suggestions may differ from an infant that’s four or six months old. Your pediatrician can help you make the best decision for your baby’s health. They may also have resources to get families what they need and can help direct them to an appropriate formula or substitution.
While some may want to make their baby formula due to the current shortage, this can present many opportunities to limit the nutrients your baby needs to grow. According to Jenna Anding, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension nutrition specialist in Texas A&M Department of Nutrition, Bryan-College Station, a developing baby needs vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, and just the proper ratio of nutrients. Breastmilk and baby formula provides the right balance of essential nutrients your baby needs to support their growing and developing bodies.
For more information on infant formula shortages and best practices, visit http://www.healthychildren.org. People can also dial 2-1-1 for local details on resources for infant formula.