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As Americans face the intense crisis of the current baby food shortage, baby parents seem to be digging for solutions to illegitimate resources on the Internet.
In the past week, the number of search terms related to the phrase “how to make homemade formula for babies” on Google has increased by more than 120%.
But medical experts along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advise against administering homemade formulas to infants.
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“I understand the temptation, but there are a lot of risks involved,” Nicole Regan, a pediatric nutritionist at NYU Langone Hospital – Long Island, told Fox News Digital on Friday.
Regan explained that both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the FDA’s strong advice against homemade formulas are supported by the fact that the manufactured formula is intended to replicate nutrients in breast milk.
The greater risk at stake is the potential for homemade concoctions to cause “serious” nutritional deficiencies, which can affect the baby’s development.
“So maybe they have poor weight gain or insufficient brain development,” she said of babies. “And then there’s a big risk of contamination or foodborne illness as these are prepared at home.”
Most homemade baby food recipes contain raw milk, which Regan says can cause these foodborne illnesses.
She encouraged parents to “be careful” before trying any of the several thoughtful recipes floating around the internet.
“Their digestive tract is still developing,” she said of infants. “The risk of food contamination is so great and can really be a concern there, just mixing things up at home.”
Last month, a woman on Facebook publicly claimed she’s “not a doctor,” yet raised her kids on homemade formula.
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“This was standard in the ’50s — you were sent home from the hospital with this prescription,” she wrote along with a list of ingredients.
A Twitter user who identifies as a retired nurse shared an “emergency prescription” – a link to a blog.
Parents on Facebook debated a 1960s viral hospital mold, sharing “special instructions” on how to prepare the formula from scratch.
“DO NOT make your baby homemade formula!!” one mom wrote on Facebook in an attempt to debunk the dated instructions.
“Babies need a very specific set of nutrients in very specific amounts to grow and thrive.”
If the MSM can talk about the toilet paper shortage every hour, they should at least be talking about the baby food shortage… we found the Amazon brand online, but not everyone is so lucky to be able to feed that. Please share. This is every store! pic.twitter.com/jYBHSAlZiy
— Danielle Miller 🇺🇦 (@Danielle0903) April 27, 2022
There are no homemade infant formula recipes that are FDA-approved.
The federal agency regulates commercially available infant formulas marketed in liquid and powder form, but does not regulate recipes for homemade formulas.
“The potential problems associated with mistakes in selecting and combining the ingredients for the formula are very serious and range from serious nutritional imbalances to unsafe products that can harm infants,” the federal agency wrote on its website, sharing with Fox News. digital.
In 2021, the FDA received reports of hospitalized babies suffering from low calcium levels after being given a homemade formula, Fox News Digital reported at the time.
Due to serious health concerns, the FDA said that while it “generally regulates commercially available infant formulas,” it does not recommend parents to use infant formulas at home. Some consequences, according to the FDA, range from “severe nutritional imbalances to foodborne illness, both of which can be life-threatening,” the agency announced in a warning.
Photos of empty store shelves, as well as non-FDA-regulated or approved homemade baby food recipes, are circulating on social media as nationwide panic sets in.
For parents who find their store shelves empty, NYU Health’s Regan suggested contacting their pediatrician, who may have a formula in stock or can recommend a different brand for safe switching.
Lactation consultants or local hospitals can be another source for locating emergency feeding supplies, as well as local food banks and smaller drug stores — although some food banks are reporting baby food is running low.
While breastfeeding is an option, not all mothers can do it.
Parents can try ordering formulas directly from manufacturers or suppliers such as Amazon. Regan suggested joining parenting groups on social media, where updates are posted when local stores are restocked.
While breastfeeding is an option, not all mothers can do it.
Breast milk banks can provide “safe, pasteurized” breast milk, but Regan advised it doesn’t come cheap.
Babies almost six months old can start weaning all forms of milk and can be introduced to pureed foods to ease the burden of stocking up on large amounts of formula.
“Contact your pediatrician, your family, your friends,” Regan said, urging parents to lean on support systems during this crisis.
“There are options to try and get that formula and to give the nutrition, to feed our babies in the safest way possible.”
The baby food shortage started with ongoing supply chain problems, FOX Business reported.
The situation has escalated in recent weeks due to: remembers by formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories following the deaths of two infants who allegedly consumed formula made at the company’s Sturgis, Michigan plant.
“A thorough review of all available data indicates that the infant formula produced at our Sturgis facility is unlikely to be the source of infection in the reported cases and that no outbreak has been caused by products from the facility,” Abbott Laboratories told FOX Business in a statement.
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The shortages caused major retailers, including Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, to impose limits on the amount customers can buy at once.
Jon Brown and Breck Dumas of FOX Business contributed to this report.