based formula, soy would be OK if that’s what they saw. Or if all they saw was a lactose-free formula, they could try that, buy a can of that, and it’s not going to hurt the baby.”
A discussion with your pediatrician is going to be particularly important if your child has specific nutritional needs, or if the alternative formula you’re considering is designed for a baby with specific needs, Wechsler shares.
“Sometimes, not all babies will tolerate a simple switch to any formula,” Wechsler says. “It’s really more of a concern if you’re giving your kids a more broken-down formula in terms of the proteins — not whole intact proteins, more like chopped-up peptides or even in some cases amino acids — or if they’re using a soy formula and switching to something that’s now more milk-based whole protein.”
Don’t make your own formula.
The internet is flooded with do-it-yourself emergency baby formula recipes. Wechsler and So recommended against using any of them.
“It’s not safe. Formulas are very, very physiologically balanced for a baby’s body composition,” So notes.
Babies can develop electrolyte imbalances, nutritional deficiencies and weight loss if your homebrew formula is off by even a little, according to the pediatricians.
Don’t dilute the formula.
By the same token, you shouldn’t water down the formula you have to make it stretch. The risks are similar to homemade formula — electrolyte imbalances and weight loss.
“The more you prolong weight loss, the more it limits growth and then, ultimately, if it’s going on for quite some time, can affect brain development,” Wechsler shares.
Don’t use cow’s milk.
Whole cow’s milk, 2% milk or skim milk should not be substituted for formula in infants, or mixed in formula to make it last longer, Wechsler adds.
“Formula is complete nutrition, similar to what you get with breast milk,” Wechsler says. “Cow’s milk is actually lacking certain things, and can affect the bioavailability of certain minerals. You can end up with things like iron deficiency from feeding too much cow’s milk before 12 months.”
The same goes for goat’s milk, almond milk and oat milk, So shares.
“Those are all for kids 1 year and up,” So notes.
Don’t use toddler’s formula as a substitute for baby formula.
“Toddler formula is different from baby formula,” So points out. “Toddler formulas don’t contain the micronutrients that baby formulas have, and your babies can have complications from missing certain micronutrients.”