Healthcare experts warn against DIY baby formula as supply shortage continues

Homemade formulas could lead to a number of health problems, possibly even death, health...
Homemade formulas could lead to a number of health problems, possibly even death, health experts warn.(UC Health)
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:20 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - As parents across the country search for formula to feed their infants, healthcare experts at UC Health and Midtown Urgent Care are urging them to avoid “do it yourself” (DIY) solutions.

The nationwide problem stems from a supply chain issue and a February recall and shutdown at an Abbott Nutrition plant in Michigan, according to a report from CNN.

With formula scarce, some parents have sought alternatives, including DIY options.

Healthcare experts like Nurse Practitioner Jack Gaffney strongly discourage parents from trying DIY methods.

“Moms or dads making [formula] at home in their kitchens, you know, where bacteria can get inside of these homemade formulations, it’s very dangerous, its lead to hospitalizations,” Gaffney explains.

Formula made at home and given to babies could cause major health problems, possibly even death, says Childbirth Education Coordinator at UC Health West Chester Hospital Heather Evans.

“The thing that’s really scary, is that you could potentially cause seizures, organ failure, and ultimately infant death,” says Evans.

She says it is crucial to warn parents to never dilute their baby’s formula.

Although it may seem tempting as a solution to extend the lifespan of the formula, it’s extremely dangerous, she says.

“Formula is made in a very specific way so that it is the right fluid and nutrient balance so that babies stay healthy and if you start messing with the dilution of the formula you can make the baby very sick,” explains Evans.

She says companies spend a lot of time, research, and finances to create a formula substance to mimic breast milk.

Anyone willing to try and recreate formula themselves is a risk, she cautions.

Evans says if a baby doesn’t get enough nutrients from the formula, or a baby can’t metabolize it, they could end up with low blood sugar, severe imbalances that impact their organs, or allergic reactions. A baby could also die, she says.

While parents struggle to find formula in stores, Evans has one suggestion.

“Those women who are able to breastfeed, I would encourage them to breastfeed,” Evans recommends. “So that those women who are not able to breastfeed can use the formula that’s available.”

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Both Evans and Gaffney say for any parent in need of formula, contact your child’s pediatrician.

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