Baby formula shortage – Are there any safe alternatives?

Parents all over the US are scrambling to find and stock up on baby formula amid a national shortage that has quickly escalated into a full-blown political crisis. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki promised the administration is doing everything it can to solve the problem, but for the time being advised concerned parents to “call their doctor”. 

Politics aside, parents who have been driving for miles with no luck are wondering what they are going to feed their children in the coming weeks. Social media have been inundated with homemade baby formula recipes, but pediatricians warn none of these are safe and can harm infants

Homemade infant formulas often do not have the correct ratio of important nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals,” according to pediatrician Tanya Altman, M.D. According to her, feeding babies homemade formula can lead to nutrient deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances, causing impeded growth and developmental issues. Other experts point out that homemade formula is not sterile and can be contaminated with bacteria from unclean water and the ingredients used.

Is cow milk safe for babies?

As a rule, parents are advised to introduce whole cow milk to their babies only after the age of 12 months. Younger children may be at risk for internal bleeding and kidney damage. However, in a pinch, parents could try giving their infants cow milk, but only if their little ones were on a regular formula before and had no special dietary requirements. 

A child over six months can be fed cow milk for a short period of time, but parents were warned to make sure the rest of the food the child receives is rich in iron. 

It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s better than relying on a homemade formula recipe found on the Internet.

Can you water down the baby formula?

This may seem like the obvious solution, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work and can seriously harm the infant. Watering down the formula may help the baby feel full for a while, but the child won’t receive enough nutrients. Short-term, a child fed a watered-down formula will start crying with hunger. Long-term, the child may suffer serious nutritional deficiencies which can lead to health issues. 

Is switching the baby formula OK?

Any formula is better than no formula. If they cannot find the product their child is used to, parents can look for something similar and introduce it slowly. Also, parents could try a toddler formula if they cannot find a product specifically designed for infants, but it’s best to talk to your doctor first. 

You can actually choose a toddler formula at that point where normally you’d want to wait until they’re exactly a year of age,” according to Dr.Altman, quoted by CNN. “Talk to your pediatrician, always, first.”

What caused the baby formula shortage?

The formula shortage can be traced back to a contamination problem at an Abbott factory that produces the Similac formula, as well as several other brands, for the US market,

The factory was shut down in February, amid consumer complaints about contaminated formula that was linked to two infant deaths. This is a very serious issue as no parent would want to feed their newborn a product that was deemed unsafe. 

If your child was injured by a product, medicine, or baby equipment, you should seek advice from a reliable personal injury attorney in your area. 

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