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WNY experts warn parents not to create homemade baby formula amid shortage

"You're not going to be able to replicate what a formula company can make."
Baby formula at FeedMore WNY .jpg
Posted at 5:49 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 11:15:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Local experts want parents to know that finding formula for their children is not a DIY job.

They are worried some people might try to make their own because they can not find any at the store.

This is just another symptom of supply chain shortages that are affecting large parts of the economy, but there was another issue as well.

The FDA shut down a plant in Michigan that makes baby formula.

This happened after the report of two infant deaths.

When it comes to confronting the baby formula shortage, do not try to DIY it, and that advice is coming from the experts.

Mercy Hospital of Buffalo pediatrician, Dr. Donald Pickhardt said, "Unless, ultimately, you're a chemist, in a sterile environment, you're not going to be able to replicate what a formula company can make."

Homemade infant formula recipes have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant's growth.

Doctor Pickhardt said things like infection, electrolyte imbalances and caloric deficiencies can play a part in an infant's body if they are given a homemade baby formula. He also advised parents and caregivers not to panic and overstock on baby formula.

Doctor Pickhardt said, "Please check with your pediatrician. They may have formula there or check with the birthing center where you had your baby."

Another option for concerned parents would be visiting hunger relief organizations, like FeedMore Western New York.

"We do know that there are a lot of families in need of additional assistance, that are being faced with a lot of tough decisions because there are additional costs of living. We know that baby food and the supply chain is one part of a very larger issue as we continue to bury ourselves from the pandemic," FeedMore WNY public relations specialist, Catherine Schick said.

Anyone in need of food assistance, or even baby care products, can visit or call ahead at (716) 822-2002.

To find the nearest food pantry by zip code, click here.

"We want to make sure that no one has to make these really tough decisions. We want to make sure that helping support their families and their babies in a time of need," Schick said.

Seeing rows and rows of empty shelves at supermarkets can be disheartening, but grocery stores like tops market say they are pivoting to promote alternative baby formula products.

Tops Markets director, Susan Durfee said, "We've put up signage on alternative formulas they can use. For example, if a certain Enfamil product is not shipping still, what can they use in the Tippy Toes formula, to supplement that, until they can get back to the Enfamil formula so that they are not taking them off of what they're used to using."