Babies & ToddlersKids

Is making homemade baby formula safe?

While recipes for infant formulas may appear to be healthy and less expensive than store bought formula, they can be potentially dangerous.

With the rising cost of infant formula, some parents may consider making their own baby formula. Here’s what you should know.

What exactly is in baby formula?

Most infant formula is made from cow’s milk protein and contains a carefully balanced combination of carbohydrates, iron, fat, and micronutrients. It is intended to mimic the composition of human breast milk, providing the ideal nutritional balance for developing infants.

The primary distinction between formula and breast milk is that the latter is a living composition that provides some protective mechanisms based on viruses exposed to by the mother, whereas formula is inert. In addition, formula contains slightly more iron than breast milk.

Is it safe to make your own infant formula?

It won’t take long to find homemade baby formula recipes on the internet. But that doesn’t mean you should make your own formula at home.

Experts are concerned about balanced nutrition in homemade formulas, especially for a baby under a year old.

If you make a formula that is too diluted, you can overload the infant with water, and it will throw their body chemistry off. Similarly, toxicity is a concern if a homemade formula is too concentrated or contains the incorrect level of micronutrients.

While the caloric value of homemade formula may be comparable to store-bought, it is frequently too high or too low, and the micronutrient distribution can be problematic.

The distribution of protein and fat content in homemade infant formula is frequently quite off. Babies’ brains are developing, and they require a high-fat content. Homemade formulas may be deficient in zinc or contain an excess of another micronutrient, raising concerns.

Babies are also more vulnerable to food poisoning, and many homemade infant formula recipes include ingredients that are not suitable for babies, such as goat’s milk. Furthermore, food safety concerns and potential cross-contamination increase the risk if you make infant formula at home with a blender or other kitchen equipment.

Are nut milks or oat milks suitable for babies?

None of these options are suitable for infants, and they are also not recommended for young toddlers. The reasons are the same as why homemade formula is not recommended: milk alternatives lack the proper balance of protein, fats, iron, sodium, and micronutrients required for healthy development. Breastmilk and store-bought infant formula are the only safe and recommended infant nutrition options. Cow’s milk is the best option after 10 months of age.

What should parents do if they cannot afford a specific formula for their child?

If your child is currently on a standard cow’s milk protein-based formula, you should be able to find a comparable product. Many physicians have tables that compare the composition of various brands, so your baby’s healthcare provider can make recommendations. Look for a formula in a similar class. There will be several formulas that have the same breakdown.

You can also ask around in local parenting groups or on social media to find out where your preferred formula (or a generic brand alternative) is sold at a cheaper price in your area. Calling various pharmacies may assist you in determining the best-priced formulas. This may be more difficult in rural areas, so contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you live in a more remote area.

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