(RxWiki News) If you're the parent of an infant, you already know: There's a formula shortage. And health officials are advising against making your own.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning against homemade infant formula because it could pose serious health risks to infants.
This recommendation is a relatively longstanding one, but it has come into renewed focus as the infant shortage continues or worsens across the United States.
For many infants, formula is the only source of nutrition when they are too young to eat solid food and are not breastfeeding. That makes this a critical problem for many parents.
But making your own formula may cause more problems than it solves, the FDA said.
"The agency has requirements for certain nutrients in infant formulas, and if the formula does not contain these nutrients at or above the minimum level or within the specified range, the infant formula is adulterated," the FDA wrote on its website. "Homemade infant formula recipes have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant’s growth."
In keeping with this warning, the FDA noted that it had received reports of infants with extremely low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) after receiving homemade infant formula. This can become a serious condition if left untreated.
Other potential problems with homemade formula include contamination with bacteria or toxic substances. In commercial settings, formula is made under strict guidelines meant to promote food safety. Most home kitchens have very little of the equipment necessary to ensure that formula is safe for infants to consume.
And few people have the knowledge or skill to guarantee that they are making formula with the food safety practices necessary to keep infants, who can be particularly vulnerable to certain pathogens, safe.
The FDA and other federal and state agencies were working to make more formula available to parents whose infants were in critical need. For help finding infant formula during the shortage, view the resources here and speak with your child's pediatrician.