Pediatrician warns of dangers of making your own formula

Newborn Baby Drinking Formula Bottle
Posted at 3:22 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 19:36:33-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The current nationwide formula shortage continues to force many parents to scramble and find a solution. But health experts warn making your own formula isn't the answer.

Store after store, empty shelves of baby formula, an all too familiar scene for Victoria Stein.

"It’s stressful. It’s a parent's worst nightmare, not knowing if they are going to be able to feed the baby," Stein said.

Her six-month-old daughter is on a special type of formula that’s has to be dairy free and hypoallergenic, one that's become extremely hard to find. She’s now being forced to switch and is living day-to-day in fear of the unknown.

"It's scary because when you have a child that has some health things going on and you’re not really sure how they are going to react, you're spending money on formula that you don’t even know if your child is going to be able to tolerate," Stein said.

Although the current shortage on formula is unprecedented and some may be tempted to make their own formula, pedatricians are warning parents not to rely on homemade recipes posted to social media.

Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine with Palm Beach Pediatrics said doing so can lead to serious development issues and health complications.

"The nutritional value and just the overall safety of what you’re preparing, there’s a lot of research and science that goes into making formula, and it’s not quite as simple as taking a few ingredients and mixing together," Fox-Levine said.

She also warns against extreme measures such as adding water to formula

"But also from an electrolyte prospective, you can very quickly disrupt the balance of those electrolytes and your baby can become very ill," Fox-Levine said.

If you cant find your normal formula, Fox-Levine recommends switching brands and shopping around at smaller drug stores stores. For specialty formula, she said it's best to consult with your baby's doctor before making the switch.

"We recommend that people call their pediatrician to make sure they are switching to a safe alternative," Fox-Levine said.

Doctors also warn against milk alternatives such as almond goat and cashew milk. Fox-Levine said babies under a year old should only consume breast milk or formula.