What Are Safe Substitutes for Infant Formula And How You Can Help!

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My twins were formula fed. And if they were at that stage right now, I would be anxiety-ridden all day every day trying to figure out how to feed them. I really feel for parents in this situation.

1) Do not dilute your baby formula with water to make it last longer. Babies can't drink water until several months after birth.

2) Do not try homemade formula recipes you found online. Baby formula is very nutrient-dense and produced from extensive research making it nearly impossible to replicate with ingredients found at a grocery store.

3) Do not give your baby regular milk. Non-human milk (cows, nut, oat, goat, etc.) lacks important nutrients for an infant’s physical and neurological development.

So what CAN you do?

If your normal baby formula has become unavailable, consulting your own pediatrician about other best options for your child is key. In general, safe substitutes can include getting formula samples through your pediatrician or trying new brands. The good news is that most babies can transition safely from one formula to another. 

For those that are able, ordering other formulas from abroad has been a trend over the last five to 10 years, but it's becoming increasingly popular now. Make sure that you're buying from a reputable retailer, that the formula meets the nutrient requirements of the U.S. formula act for an iron-fortified infant formula and (meets) government regulations. One such reliable brand is Aussie Bubs, an Australian formula. When looking into alternative brands at home or abroad, look for third-party certifications, such as those from the Clean Label Project, can also help.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, if your child is over 6 months old, you can also start to slowly supplement nutrition with some solids. Talk to your doctor about options and preparation.

You can try receiving safe, pasteurized breastmilk from donation banks. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, for example, can help find a bank near you. You can also look through local listings for other accredited, nonprofit banks. It's also important to recognize the difference between getting milk through an accredited bank and informal breastmilk sharing. Informal breastmilk sharing is not usually recommended – as there can be health and safety risks, according to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

--Now more than ever, people who have extra breast milk and are able to donate to accredited, nonprofit banks should take action today.--

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration said that it is "doing everything in our power" to improve the supply of baby formula. "The only thing worse than a baby formula shortage is allowing substandard baby formula to be sold to American families. The FDA must walk a delicate tightrope between safety and shortages," former FDA Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts said in a statement. "It is doing so right now and, together with manufacturers is working to assure a supply of high-quality baby formula to American parents."


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