Pediatricians Do Not Recommend Homemade Baby Formula, Here’s Why

Social media posts are urging parents who are facing a shortage of infant formula to do so themselves. But pediatricians told AFP they were not advising patients to use a homemade formula, warning that it may lack vitamins and essential nutrients to help children grow and develop. One recipe, said to be from 1960, has been shared on Facebook hundreds of thousands of times, urging parents to mix evaporated milk, water, and Karo corn syrup. Parents in the United States say purchasing restrictions and price gouging have made them increasingly desperate to get the food needed for their non-breastfed children. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions against home-made formula.

Tanya Altman, author of several parenting books and founder of Calabasas Pediatrics in California, agrees.

“I advise my patients not to make homemade baby formula,” she told AFP. “It will not meet your child’s basic nutritional needs, can be very dangerous to his growth and development and can even make your child ill.”

Looking at the recipe circulating online, Altman said added sugar would not be safe or healthy for infants.

“Karu syrup was once used to help relieve constipation, but it is not recommended because it is ineffective and can even contain harmful bacteria,” she said.

Azza Ahmed, assistant professor of nursing at Purdue University, said homemade formula milk can put a baby at risk of “contamination and infection.”

She added that although parents are nervous about the deficiency, milk should never be diluted, as this can quickly lead to nutritional imbalances.

Social media posts sparked by the shortage also claim that orange juice mixed with water can be introduced at three weeks of age.

But the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine cautioned against juices and formula substitutes.

“Do not give your child under six months of age any water, tea or juice,” the statement read.

Other Facebook posts advise parents to replace goat’s milk with formula.

But goat’s milk lacks nutrients that are essential for babies, according to Gabrina Dixon of Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. She noted a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12 – which is necessary to stave off anemia or a low red blood cell count.

Concerned parents should consult pediatricians about feeding options, experts told AFP, but urged more open attitudes about switching brands of milk or using generic products, especially for children who have not shown signs of allergy to the ingredients.

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