Doctors: Do not make your own baby formula

A University of Washington pediatrician said parents trying to make baby formula at home during the shortage are putting their babies in danger.

The pediatrician echoed the same warnings as the American Academy of Pediatrics, saying homemade formula could cause infections, allergic reactions, seizures or possible brain swelling.

Though there are recipes on social media for those unable to find baby formula, doctors say real formula has predigested proteins, minerals, fats, electrolytes and more. All are highly regulated for proportions and safety.

“Part of the reason why there was this challenge in the first place is it’s so carefully regulated to make sure that the formula is complete and safe. And just winging it at home is a risk. And then diluting it is a risk too,” UW Medicine pediatrician Dr. Beth Ebel said.

Ebel has even heard that some parents were rationing and diluting formula, which can result in the disruption of a baby’s brain development.

There is some good news for babies who are six months and older, as Ebel said whole cow’s milk can be used in an emergency.

“For a week or so, if you had to, you could use whole cow’s milk, you know, for a short period of time for a kid who’s between six months and a year. Um, cow’s milk isn’t the same as formula though, and one of the critical things it’s missing is iron. So again, you might want to talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting an iron supplement for that period of time,” said Ebel.

Ebel is encouraging people with leftover formula to contact their pediatrician so that it may be redistributed.

More formula is expected to be made available by early July.