As the lack of formula continues despite government action and donations from other countries, families are turning to other sources of necessary nutrition.
The first six months of a baby’s life are crucial for long-term development.
Breast milk provides everything a baby needs, with important immune benefits and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
The formula acts as a substitute for breast milk. It has similar nutritional value and properties and is a great option for parents.
Lyssa Lamport is a neonatal nutritionist in the Department of Neonatal Perinatal Medicine at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York.
Throughout his career, families have been asking for supplements to support development, but now questions about the homemade formula are popping up more often.
He explained decades of research and testing done by breast milk substitutes to try to copy breast milk.
“It’s impossible to be identical, but that’s where their research comes from, and that’s their ideal. They give probiotics, they give prebiotics, they give all the good nutrition, ”he said.
“Formula, they can add probiotics, they can add all these things like luetin and all these different amino acids to get closer to breast milk, but you still will not get the same long-term effect.”
Trying to recreate these recipes at home can be detrimental to a child’s health. Videos advertising ways to prepare the essential diet product are popping up in abundance on sites like YouTube and TikTok.
While parents have good intentions, it is impossible to try to get everything a child needs in the right proportions in a home kitchen.
Some moms sent Lamport recipes they were going to make. His immediate answer was what the nutritional value of this mixture was.
“I can ‘t tell you it’s safe, because I do not know if you’re adding a little bit of this, a little bit of it, a little bit of it,” he said.
“I have no idea if this meets the specific nutritional needs of a growing infant as a toddler.”
One ingredient in the home recipe was palm oil.
Although this is a common ingredient in the formula, too much can interfere with calcium absorption.
Another recipe contained Irish Moss, which is a source of iodine, electrolytes and potassium.
Iodine helps the thyroid gland produce hormones that control metabolism, nerves and bone growth.
In a child, however, too much can cause irreparable harm.
“When you put them on [ingredients] Overall, you are considering all the other nutrients or components that are in it that may actually be harmful, so you have a bigger problem, ”says Lamport.
Many recipes also lack important nutrients that can cause deficiencies.
Nutritional deficiencies in children can lead to lethargy, poor growth and a weakened immune system.
“You know iron deficiency can be treated, but the damage it does when you talk about your child’s neurodevelopment, how it affects its function in school, how his brain works. I do not know if anyone will tell you that it is non-permanent. “
In a February statement, the FDA announced that it had detected side effects in children due to the homemade formula, supporting Lamport’s concerns.
The statement described children who had become deficient in calcium and had to be hospitalized due to ingestion of breast milk substitute.
Two children with special dietary needs in Tennessee, a preschooler and a toddler were hospitalized after having to change formulas, according to WMC-TV, a Memphis NBC company.
Dr. Mark Corkins, a pediatric gastroenterologist, treated the two children. Both patients are in stable condition.
“It’s not about all babies, not normal babies, but literally the recall of the formula has led to these babies requiring hospitalization,” Corkins said.
Four other diseases have been reported among children and infants who drank Abbott’s formula. According to Fox News, two of the babies died of infections they allegedly contracted with the formula.
For those who cannot find the formula, Lamport urges them to check with their doctor before replacing anything else.
Parents can also check if there is a local milk bank where they can receive breast milk donations from other families that are carefully selected.
What caused the deficiency?
By April 2022, about 30 percent of popular baby milk brands were sold out, USA Today reported. Since then, that number has risen to 40%.
The shortage was largely triggered by a massive recall and the closure of a facility at an Abbott Laboratories facility that produces baby food.
This happened after three other formulas were recalled: Similac, Alimentum and EleCare.
The announcement came after four children were chronically ill with infections.
In recent days, the federal government has devoted enormous resources to increasing the supply of the formula.
President Joe Biden and his administration imported 70,000 pounds of breast milk substitute from Germany into the country in May.
The House Appropriation Commission has approved an emergency bid that provides $ 28 million to the Food and Drug Administration to help the crisis and prevent future crises.
The national shortage is also attributed to supply chain problems.
“The challenges of delivering products are currently affecting most of the retail industry,” Walgreens owner CVS Health said in a statement to USA Today.
“We continue to work with our national suppliers of national baby brands to address this issue, and we apologize for any inconvenience our customers may experience.”
Other supply chain problems include packaging delays and labor shortages.
In addition, stores such as CVS, Target and Wallgreens have also implemented purchase limits for customers.
AJ Stokes and his girlfriend Bree Rivera have addressed these issues first hand.
When their son Jordan was born, they both knew they would trust the formula.
“All of our Wegmans, TOPS and Walmart’s were pretty much empty,” Stokes said.
“We used to take the large boxes that contained two packages, but now they only offer the single format”.
Their local Walmart has a purchase limit of one per. person.
“Many people I know can only use very specific formulas, so it’s much harder for them.
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