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Mercyhealth cautions parents about baby formula substitutions

As homemade baby formula recipes circulate the internet, Mercyhealth would like to remind the public that homemade formula can harm infants.

“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). Ask your pediatrician about recommended specialty formula alternatives available for your baby,” said Dr. John Perryman, a pediatrician at Mercyhealth Roscoe.

It is important to note that formula should not be diluted and that toddler formula is not recommended for infants.

Dr. Perryman said your child’s pediatrician may have other suggestions based on how old the baby is and what solids they are 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 following statement was issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

“Homemade formula can harm infants. It might contain too many or not enough nutrients, according to AAP nutrition expert Steven Abrams, MD, FAAP. Infant formulas are tested by the Food and Drug Administration for quality. 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, according to the AAP. Do not feed infants the following: Homemade formula with ingredients like powdered cow’s milk, raw milk or sugar; plain cow’s milk; or milk substitutes like almond or soy milk. They do not have the balance of ingredients.”

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