ROCKFORD — Mercyhealth is cautioning parents that homemade baby formula can be harmful to infants.
The health care system issued that warning Friday amid a national baby formula shortage, which has spurred the circulation of homemade baby formula recipes online.
“During the formula shortage, it is OK to switch to any FDA approved formula that is available, including store brands, unless your baby is on a specific extensively hydrolyzed or amino acid-based formula such as Elecare (no store brand exists),” said Dr. John Perryman, a pediatrician at Mercyhealth Roscoe. “Ask your pediatrician about recommended specialty formula alternatives available for your baby.”
A Michigan factory that makes Similac formula was shut down in February after a potential bacteria outbreak, and it has not reopened. The closure exasperated a shortage that started with pandemic supply-chain issues, and last week stores had roughly 43% less formula than usual, according to the New York Times.
Mercyhealth also said that formula should not be diluted and that toddler formula is not recommended for infants. Perryman said your child’s pediatrician may have other suggestions based on what solids your baby is taking. Parents should always consult their child’s pediatrician before making a change.
“Formula recipes that include PET evaporated milk provide inadequate calories and fat content and contain too much salt and protein for an infant’s kidneys, and it is deficient in several minerals and vitamins,” according to Dr. David Deutsch, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Mercyhealth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is also warning against homemade formula, saying it may contain too many or not enough nutrients.
“Infant formulas are tested by the Food and Drug Administration for quality,” the organization said. “They provide the right amount of protein, iron and vitamins that infants need. Feeding babies homemade formula even for a few days or weeks can have lasting effects and put them at risk of getting sick.”