Empty Shelves and Desperate Moms – Baby Formula Shortage Do’s and Don’ts


You’ve seen it on the news and social media – perhaps the scariest thing that could happen for new moms; Grocery stores all over the country are unable to hold a steady supply of baby formula. So what is the mother of a newborn standing in the empty aisle holding a screaming and hungry newborn to do? When the only thing on her mind is comforting and feeding her baby, she may turn to the internet for solutions.

There she find hundreds of homemade baby formula recipes containing easily accessible ingredients like powdered milk, corn syrup, and heavy cream. These recipes always come along with comments like, “This is what my parents fed me,” and “We’ve always made our own formula and our kids are fine.”  She decides to give it a try, but is it really what is best for the baby?


Homemade Baby Formula – Should I?

Short answer, no. Doctors of the American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP, do not recommend homemade formula as an alternative to baby formula. Your baby has specific nutritional needs that are difficult to match with homemade baby formula. Hypocalcemia (low calcium) for example, is a major risk factor for homemade formula babies. The FDA claims hypocalcemia leads to hospitalization for some babies.

The AAP warns parents about giving any cow milk or milk substitutes to children under one year old. Infants should not be fed raw sugar or watered down formula.

The first year of life is key in the growth and development of adolescent brains and bodies. Nutrition supports that growth and development, which can have long-lasting or life-long affects.

Help for Moms and Babies

For families seeking infant formula: *As a reminder, the AAP “strongly advises against homemade formula. Although recipes for homemade formulas circulating on the internet may seem healthy or less expensive, they are not safe and do not meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Infant deaths have been reported from use of some homemade formulas.”

If you are having trouble feeding your baby, there are several resources available to you. Here are a few suggestions from Stephen A. Abrams, MD, FAAP.

  • Contact smaller, local grocery stores and drug stores
  • Search online from reputable retailers
  • Do not import formula from overseas
  • Switch up the brand or type of formula unless your baby has specific needs
  • Check social media groups dedicated to formula
  • Call your pediatrician – they may have samples they can donate to help you out
  • Contact local churches, civic groups, food banks, and hospitals and simply ask for baby formula

Every baby deserves proper nutrition and care, and there are always people who will help a hungry baby. Here are a few more resources for Louisiana residents who are struggling during the baby formula shortage:

For families seeking breastfeeding support:  

We are here to help. If you need further assistance or have any questions, please contact The Baby Place at Minden Medical Center.