OLATHE, Kan. — Alternative recipes for baby formula have been circulating across social media amid the supply chain shortage, but pediatricians in the Kansas City metro advise parents to not create their own homemade concoctions.
“It’s dangerous because it doesn’t have the nutrients that formula does. Formula's been tested and tried over the years,” said Dr. Scott Dattel, pediatrician at Kansas City Pediatrics. “Goat's milk, for example, can cause iron deficiency and anemia when it’s given.”
Dattel says it is all about making sure babies receive the macro and micro nutrients they need. It is difficult for parents to mimic or find substitutions in a household kitchen.
“Babies need certain nutrients in the first year of life, for brain development and all that, and formula has certain ratios of the nutrients that the babies need,” Dattel said.
He says the recent Abbott recall, pandemic-induced supply chain issues and hoarding are all contributing factors to the ongoing crisis. But he believes temporarily opening up the borders could help the supply chain issue.
“It’s the shortage because of the high regulations the U.S. has. We can’t bring over formula from Europe, for example, because sometimes the labeling is not right. Has nothing to do with the product,” Dattel said.
First-time mother Danielle Flory did not expect to bring home her baby with no formula for feeding.
“I never thought this would even be an issue,” Flory said. “When we came home and I was looking for formula, I was like, 'It’s nowhere.' And it scares me because what happens if it’s literally nowhere and she needs it and she’s not gaining weight? Then I don’t know what to do?”
Flory feels relieved her body is producing an ample amount of breast milk, but she is donating most of it anyway.
Her daughter, Amara, was born prematurely at 34 weeks and requires a specific kind of formula with extra calories per ounce and iron. Flory's breast milk alone is not meeting the baby’s needs.
“I’m afraid it’s gonna stunt her growth, she’s not gonna gain weight like she should, and the worst thing in the world would be for her to be labeled as failure to thrive,” Flory said.
Right now she only has one can of Enfamil EnfaCare to get through next week. She is rationing leftover formula and mixing her breast milk to hold out longer.
“I feel bad for moms who have to exclusively formula feed,” Flory said.