By Johanna Hicks, Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Agent for Family & Community Health, [email protected]
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 own infant formula at home. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension personnel are advising 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 own infant formula at home. However, making your own infant formula at home is not recommended and may even put your baby at risk. It can limit the necessary nutrients infants need for proper brain and overall development. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, making homemade infant formula can result not only in a loss of important nutrients but increase the risk of bacterial contamination from water as well as household ingredients.
Some infants may be on specialized formulas which may be either more easily digested or tolerated due to other conditions. Changing the ratio and type of formula may cause gastrointestinal and other complications for infants if a homemade formula is substituted, according to Danielle Kreuger, registered dietitian and Extension Specialist.
Since infant needs change as they age, there is a lot of opportunity for a recommendation based on the age of the infant. If the infant is closer to one year of age, the formula suggestions may be very different than for an infant that’s 4 or 6 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 be inclined to make their own 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, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and just the right ratio of nutrients. Breastmilk and baby formula provide 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 information about resources for infant formula.
Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it. Joyce Meyer
Contact Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health Agent for Hopkins County at P.O. Box 518, 1200-B West Houston, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483; 903-885-3443 or [email protected].