If you’re having trouble finding infant formula for your baby due to the nationwide shortage, do not turn to homemade recipes, an expert warns.
“Even the best intentions can have devastating results,” says Dr. Diane Calello, a pediatrician and director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center based at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.
“Although it may seem safe to use substitutes or make homemade formula to feed your baby, it can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening,” she cautioned in a news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported on three infants who were treated in emergency rooms for low calcium levels and vitamin D-deficient rickets after being fed homemade formula. Infants fed watered-down formula also face the risk of electrolyte imbalance and brain swelling.
Calello outlined what shouldn’t be fed to babies and what formula alternatives are safe.
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What you should avoid feeding your baby
Rice drinks, goat’s milk, almond milk, cow’s milk, protein shakes and homemade or watered-down formula can quickly lead to severe nutritional deficiency in infants because they lack essential nutrients babies require at each feeding.
She also warned against feeding babies honey.
Honey and products such as graham crackers or cereal that have honey as an ingredient are also nutritionally deficient and may cause a serious type of food poisoning called botulism in children younger than 12 months, Calello shares.
If it’s impossible to find infant formula, toddler formula — while not recommended for infants — can be used for