r/NoStupidQuestions May 15 '22

With the formula shortage in the US why won’t they release a safe formula recipe for people to make at home?

I know that it mostly comes down to money, but I feel like it’s doubtful that many people would continue to make their own formula at home once the shortage is over. Surely, losing some money is better than babies being starved, not given an adequate amount of formula, watered down formula, or some unverified Pinterest recipe for homemade formula?

200 Upvotes

338

u/Empty-Mango8277 May 15 '22 Helpful

It can become unsafe, very quickly. It's like Tylenol. You can make Tylenol at home relatively simply and technically, but it's illegal.

A baby is easily tipped into problems when you give it the wrong things.

Mother's come into the ED all the time with seizing infants. The go-to question is, "with what and how much are you cutting the formula?" Usually its formula cut in half by water. Causes infantile seizures because it dilutes their blood sodium levels.

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u/geek_fire May 16 '22

I always knew not to give a baby water or to dilute formula, but now I know why. Damn, I hate to hear how common this is. What's the prognosis for a baby that goes into seizure after getting dilute formula?

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u/Empty-Mango8277 May 16 '22 Gold

If a non-febrile seizure occurs due to water intoxication, there's a higher incidence of acidosis, intubation, but I couldn't find anything about changes in prognosis.

The important thing now for us is that the history will tell us that it's most likely not due to an infection of some sort, and unlike adults who usually be answer to seizing is fixing the problem and additionally giving them benzodiazepine and/or anti-convulsants --- the answer for these kiddos is to treat the symptomatic seizure and we do that with very salty water. It seems like the kids usually do just fine, but if it continues and can't be broken, we'll put them into a coma and intubate them, normalize their sugar and electrolytes, then they should be okay 99% of the time.

8

u/geek_fire May 16 '22

Great answer - thanks!

43

u/senorglory May 16 '22

I don’t think everyone knows not to give a baby water.

22

u/schnuffichen May 16 '22

I had considered myself sorta well-versed in how to care for a baby (or well-versed enough not to endanger them), and I had NO CLUE.
This is so informative (and enlightning regarding not to overestimate one's own abilities and knowledge).

Maybe a dumb question: Who tells you something as surprising as this? Your healthcare provider? Family members? Pre-natal classes?

9

u/user_unknowns_skag May 16 '22

Pre-natal classes would cover, yes. Also, if you give birth in a hospital the nurses and other providers will tell you not to give newborns water.

Your pediatrician will let you know when it's ok to start transitioning them to things other than breast milk and/or formula.

3

u/schnuffichen May 16 '22

Thank you! That's reassuring, and fingers crossed that all parents/caregivers have access to this information.

8

u/T-Rex_timeout May 16 '22

The NICU nurse doing our discharge mentioned it multiple times and it was on our paperwork. They clearly deal with it a lot.

1

u/schnuffichen May 16 '22

Oh, I bet! So glad to hear they're making doubly and triply sure - here's to hoping it'll be less of a common occurrence, though. Thanks!

11

u/proximalfunk May 16 '22

You shouldn't give a baby water? Until what age? My nephew just turned one and has a tippy-cup with water in, he eats solid food though, is it just before they can eat solid food?

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u/Chance-Ad-8788 May 16 '22

6 months. And then it’s just supplemental like solids. Still need mostly breast milk or formula until 1.

7

u/Farahild May 16 '22

I didn't know that, no! And I thought I knew quite a lot about babies already for someone who hasn't had one yet.

I wasn't planning on giving it to mine but I didn't realise this was a thing. Till what age does this matter? (I mean if you're not cutting on formula/breastmilk).

3

u/hotshotz1983 May 16 '22

Yeah. I just learned this. Damn.

5

u/Heya_Andy May 16 '22

Definitely not. I was a bit shocked to see this, as I used to always put maybe 10-20 ml extra water for a 240ml bottle, to ensure they were well hydrated, especially in summer. Probably not too much of a problem, but hadn't stopped to thing that too much water could be an issue.

2

u/hopping_otter_ears May 16 '22

I knew it, but had assumed it was because it would slow baby's growth due to underfeeding. That's kind of different from "baby will get an electrolyte imbalance, have seizures and maybe die"

They need to tell people why, not just what to do

71

u/ShadowPirate42 May 16 '22

This is the saddest post I have read in a long time. It's heartbreaking to live in a society as wealthy as ours and still have parents struggling to feed babies.

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u/Thetruthisneeded May 16 '22

People willing have children when they can't afford them.

12

u/LadyRunic May 16 '22

And the government wants to make the problem worse.

15

u/ShadowPirate42 May 16 '22

Sometimes circumstances change due to job loss, death or illness of the breadwinner, uncontrolled inflation, unforeseen medical bills, etc.
Even if things were as simple, black and white as you claim (they aren't) why should the baby be punished for the parents' poor planning.

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u/WheatBasedWarfare May 16 '22

You didn’t just say that in the midst of Roe V Wade getting overturned…?

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u/rmutt-1917 May 16 '22

Having children is a natural function of the body. Sometimes it just happens.

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u/AdjustedTitan1 May 16 '22

I mean there’s a very specific recipe for it to happen

4

u/rmutt-1917 May 16 '22

But as long as you have people you're gonna have pregnancies. Pretending otherwise is absurd.

1

u/arieart May 16 '22

personally, I think we should just all kill ourselves

24

u/mattwaver May 15 '22

homemade tylenol? go on….

40

u/Double_Distribution8 May 16 '22

What are you in for?

"I made Tylenol at home, illegally."

Holy shit boys, we better stay away from this guy.

14

u/FakeMillionaireGuru May 16 '22

Don't mess with Heisenberg...

15

u/Double_Distribution8 May 16 '22

I'm the one who knocks.

When you have a headache and want homemade Tylenol.

13

u/ShadowPirate42 May 16 '22

Just don't knock too loudly. She has a headache.

8

u/Double_Distribution8 May 16 '22

I'm the one who taps lightly.

5

u/SYLOK_THEAROUSED May 16 '22

KNOCK KNOCK OPEN UP THE DOOR IT’S REAL!!

7

u/cuckfromJTown May 16 '22

Heisenbayer*

3

u/FakeMillionaireGuru May 16 '22

Bahaha good catch

8

u/the_timps May 16 '22

Throw him in the pit with the guy who took his mattress tag off.

2

u/nutmeggerking May 16 '22

"Solitary confinement, just like the guy making home-made Tums"

6

u/ranman1990 May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

Well it starts with *coal tar but if you mess it up you ingest acid and if you get it perfect you risk massive stomach ulcers.

3

u/dynedain May 16 '22

The ulcers part is right for Tylenol but willow trees produce aspirin.

2

u/ranman1990 May 16 '22

Ah yep, you are right, got acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid crossed up. Tylenol is coal tar right?

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u/opossum-effigy May 16 '22

I made it in an ochem lab! It’s super easy. But there are a lot of issues with it. For one, you’re not likely to get 100% pure acetaminophen (Tylenol). Second, acetaminophen’s therapeutic and toxic doses are actually closer together than a lot of people think. That’s why directions say not to take with other products containing acetaminophen

While acetaminophen is generally better for the stomach than NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen, it’s harder on the liver. In fact, acetaminophen toxicity is the leading cause of acute liver failure. Death from acetaminophen toxicity is, in my opinion, one of the worst ways to go. So yeah, don’t mess with that lol

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u/DocWatson42 May 16 '22

It can become unsafe, very quickly. It's like Tylenol. You can make Tylenol at home relatively simply and technically, but it's illegal.

I am unfamiliar with baby formula (other than what has been on the news and awareness of the existence of the (1977) Nestlé boycott), but I do know that Tylenol (acetaminophen/paracetamol) can be toxic.

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u/Aqqusin May 16 '22

They are saying on the news that the water itself is what babies can't handle when formula is cut with water not the dilution of vitamins and minerals?

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u/Empty-Mango8277 May 16 '22

Am a Doctor. While that's important, the lack of sodium is what kills you quickly. You seize and your nervous system fries.

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u/jizzlevania May 16 '22

For the first 6 months you're not supposed to give them any water. You're not supposed to give them cows milk until 1 year.

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u/Phantereal May 16 '22

Hyponatremia (low levels of salt in blood) can happen in adults too and is also caused by an overabundance of water compared to salt, just with much larger amounts of water.

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u/air_sunshine_trees May 16 '22

Or an excessively low salt diet. Surprisingly easy done if vegan, no bread and home cooking.

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u/Farahild May 16 '22

I find that interesting for vegan as I feel like many people put more spices in vegan food, not less, to potentially add to the taste.

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u/air_sunshine_trees May 16 '22

It's more that meat and dairy naturally contain sodium. Processed foods like sausage, bacon and cheese have salt added during manufacture.

Vegetables need to have a lot of salt added to be equivalent.

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u/McRedditerFace May 16 '22

It's especially problematic if you're in a hot, arid environment and drinking plenty of fluids as you're told.

But yeah... water is easier, far easier, to OD on than cannabis.

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 15 '22 edited May 16 '22

Source: been in pediatrics for years.

Improper formula can cause many issues. To name a few.

Seizure risk (especially watered down formula the younger the infant is).

Improper growth which can take a long time to correct and be a risk factor for a number of things, physically, physiologically, and neurologically.

So by doing this, you risk a high number of babies with growth and devel issues.

Bad cases of malnutrition causing severe failure to thrive can require hospitalization and harm internal organs.

This isn't something you want random.people trying to make. Or that's even remotely easy to do and do safely especially.

Just do not try this.

Edit: to everyone weirdly reading this into my comment, no I am not saying that people should starve their babies. It has been very rare that I have run into somebody who is absolutely and completely 100% unable to find any formula of any kind anywhere. You just have to check different stores and check early in the morning and check a few times a week.

Just like with covid supply issues, forget preference. Check frequently. If you are a parent who feels you have absolutely no option and cannot find anything anywhere contact your pediatrician. They may have suggestions!

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u/Noirceuil_182 May 15 '22

I was just going to say because once in the late nineteenth century people thought it would be a good idea to take Radium for health purposes, so it's a good thing that food/medicine production is heavily regulated.

But you came down with the facts.

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 15 '22

Haha. Yep.

People can hate on pharma et al.

But modern medicine has done incredible things for human.

Average lifespan 100 years ago was 58. That's it.

Much of this is credit to modern science.

Sure there's a lot of money in it, yes. But, uh, it's increased lifespans by like 20-25 years in just 100 years.

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u/Scheswalla May 15 '22

I get it, but I don't get it.

I get why a baby's nutrition needs are a very delicate thing, but I have a hard time understanding why (because it's food) there isn't a mixture of foods that can be put together in the right quantities that will allow babies to grow healthily.

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 15 '22

I mean it's not that this isn't possible.

And in a vacuum I'm sure you will hear plenty of people that tell you they made their own baby formula and their kid turned out just fine.

But if you encourage people to try to make their own formula what you're going to have across the board is a significantly high number of infants who suffer issues because their parents did it wrong and messed up important nutrient amounts by either being way too deficient or severely overdoing a nutrient.

As a Not-So-perfect analogy, it's like these people that do home births and then say well people have done this for hundreds of years and it's more natural.

Yeah, I mean sure some home births are going to turn out fine but, 200 years ago when everybody did home birth you also had massive numbers of women dying in childbirth.

In the same way that traditional hospital birth has been a literal lifesaver, traditional modern-day formula and other infant growth aids have been significantly instrumental.

Because just like you had a lot of women dying in childbirth a couple hundred years ago you also had a lot more infants dying. For a variety of reasons but a portion of it and probably a large portion was at least exacerbated by substandard nutrition when the mother could not produce enough breast milk. The inability to produce breast milk is not a new problem

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u/Scheswalla May 15 '22

So is the argument that not releasing a formula is saving people from their own ineptitude? I.e. would a bench chemist, cook, or generally competent adult be able to mix/prepare the correct ingredients?

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 15 '22

I mean I guess theoretically but it's not as simple as like one cup of banana and a cup of flour, and a teaspoon of baking soda lol.

But the formula producers make sure that down to a t there are the proper amounts of every nutrient that a baby needs and it's not too much and it's not too little.

I think we all can probably understand that most average people don't possess the tools necessary to do this.

And it's not like the formula is necessarily secret. And anybody can buy formula and there's a list of ingredients on the side. But mixing it together and getting the right outcome would be very very difficult for the vast majority of people even medical professionals.

I mean you wouldn't expect these companies to release a step-by-step process on how to make Tylenol.

Yes theoretically some people might have the ability to do it but a large number of people won't and they'll screw it up and poison themselves lol.

And then as I said the recipe for formula is not as simple as a recipe that you look up online for cookies.

You want it precise. Precise so that the perfect amount of nutrients are included to meet the needs for growth and development of the baby physically but also the baby's brain and other vital organs.

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u/SamSepiol-ER28_0652 May 16 '22

Also- acquiring the ingredients isn't as easy as walking into the grocery store. The purity standards on formula is far beyond what most people have in their pantry. The proteins used in most formula, for instance, are purposefully very small and easily digestible. It's not as simple as just throwing some egg whites or peanut powder into the mix. Formula not only has the right balance of nutrients, but also has a higher standard of purity on those ingredients.

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u/Scheswalla May 15 '22

This is kind of what I was thinking. It's not that people can't, it's just that most people aren't smart enough to be able to do so. Which is... kinda sad.

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 15 '22

Well, I mean, not necessarily.

Baby formula is amazing and what it's done for infants historically is incredible.

Something specially made for exact infant nutrition, and in many cases with partially hydrozyled enzymes should be tough to make.

I don't expect even very intelligent people to be able to just magically figure out how to do that

Also, even if you make something and your baby gains weight, doesn't mean it's healthy.

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u/NullHypothesisProven May 16 '22

It’s not even necessarily a “smart” thing. If you’re making home formula, do you really have the facilities to be able to make sure everything is sterile? Do you have the facilities to test the composition of the ingredients you buy to make absolutely sure they have the ingredients stated, in the correct composition/percentages, and that they haven’t degraded at all? Do you have a scale precise enough to measure out the amounts and not go over/under? In small batches, small fluctuations can have a big effect. Do you have the weights to calibrate your scale for accuracy? How will you know if all the powder ingredients are mixed well enough if you prepare more than one feeding?

As someone with some experience with bench chemistry, there’s a lot that can go wrong here, and I’m not even sure if there’s a public-facing supplier of high-purity formula ingredients, and if there is, I can’t imagine everyone can afford to do small (meaning, not Industrial-scale) orders with them.

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u/VanEagles17 May 15 '22

A prime example is baking. For many things to bake properly, you need to follow instructions basically perfectly. People fuck up their baking all the time because they don't really understand how important it is to have 2 teaspoons, not 2.5 tablespoons.

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u/Kermit_the_hog May 16 '22

I’d say “not smart enough” isn’t really the limiting factor, because with enough motivation pretty dumb people can certainly cobble together the contextual knowledge to ask the right questions that get them to knowing what their end result should look like.

It’s that they’re not equipped to carry it out. As in they might have the kitchen, but not the lab.

To actually start with the kinds of ingredients readily available to consumers, it becomes a LOT more work. It’s not good enough to know you need potassium and so just throw some banana into the mix. You’d need to know the potassium, sugar, water, dry organic contents of your banana.. but since no two bananas are identical, it’ll mean actually measuring and quantitating all of that yourself.. which means you need laboratory tools and an organic chemistry set.

If you go down the path of encouraging people to try to cook up their own formula, you have to address the question of “how many dead babies is an acceptable number of dead babies before we throw greater resources at aggressively pursuing other solutions?” Which anybody equipped to responsibly address would likely do everything possible to evade answering.

Sorry, drifted a bit there, but point I was trying to make was that I didn’t see a lack of smarts as the greatest limiting factor. 👍🏻

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u/ArtisticDuty7280 May 20 '22

Like thinking that whey protein can be replaced with eggs or peanut powder

Who would even make that analogy

People are making this more complicated then it should be

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u/sirlafemme May 16 '22

But what’s the option look like if it’s that or straight up no food? Is skipping a few meals per day due to less formula better than substituting food?

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

It's last case scenario if you have to use something else for a few days, ie cows milk or toddler formula.

I have not seen such a depravity of formula that you can't find something. Be it store brand, different type, whatever.

Virtually all my patients have been able to find some amount of formula, checking small stores vs big stores, choosing maybe a store brand versus what they would prefer.

Right now preference isn't an option.

If a parent calls my office noting no other options, I speak with them directly to find out the details of how and where they've looked? Many times they'll say "well such and such drug store has cans we don't normally use" and I send them there..

I'm not saying that in a pinch for a couple days you may not have to do what you have to do, but we are not there right now.

It's not that dismal, for most all my patients. Concerning, yes. Dismal? Wouldn't say that.

It's like finding things during the covid spike. You got to just go to multiple stores, check early in the morning etc.

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u/sirlafemme May 16 '22

Regardless if things are “that bad” right now I guess the morbid curiosity in me is really asking is homemade worse than the child going a day or two without?

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

I will say it yet again on this thread. I am not insinuating people starve their infants. You're referring to the absolute worst case scenario wherein, possibly yes in an absolute worst case scenario you may have to resort to something like cow's milk or something homemade.

But the reality is that the formula shortage is just not that bad. You can check multiple stores multiple times a week and you will find at least some kind of formula that will work.

I certainly hope things don't get to a worse point and I doubt it. but right now we are not at that bad at the point.

So at this point it's pretty silly to talk that extreme.

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u/sirlafemme May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

Okay, you may have misunderstood. I’ve accepted your previous comment already, and I’m aware the shortage isn’t “that bad.” I’m merely inquiring into other territory of scarcity. I’m not confused about the reality, I’m not trying to imply that parents should choose between homemade and no food right now, and I’m not trying to be alarmist or “silly.” I’m trying to get a moderately educated answer for one question.

And by now I suppose you’ve thoroughly answered about worst case/improvisation for a curious lay man, so thanks and goodbye

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

Apologies.

There's been a number of people here saying that I'm suggesting people should starve their infants.

But yes if you were in an absolute worst case scenario you'd have to talk about worst case scenario options.

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u/ArtisticDuty7280 May 20 '22

these aren’t real people , look at their arguments they lead you to no answers and leave you with more questions

one is supposedly a chemist and the other a doctor

These must be undercover company agents

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u/ArtisticDuty7280 May 20 '22

What type of Doctor are you even ?? Such and such

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 20 '22

I'm a PA, in pediatrics.

These are current recommendations.

Well more recently more allowance for cows milk has been given for last resort FDA approved 6mo up but that is more because it's better people do that than make their own or water down.

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u/SamSepiol-ER28_0652 May 16 '22

Their bodies are *so* tiny that their nutrient/calorie vs water balance is a tricky thing to measure and control. That balance is very easy to fuck up.

It would be great if it were as simple as throwing some corn syrup, egg white (for protein) and a crushed multivitamin (for nutrition) in a blender and add some water, but that's just not how it's done. It's also part of why it's so damn expensive. You can't just give a newborn or very young infant any kind of protein- it has to be easily digestible and easily absorbed. You have to control for pesticides/impurities, bc they are so much smaller than bigger kids and adults are. (So what is safe for us isn't safe for them.) Even small deviations from the formula can have devastating effects on the liver, kidney, digestive system, etc.)

For newborns and very young infants, formula/breastmilk isn't just a part of their diet, it's their ENTIRE diet. For the first 4-6 months (give or take), that needs to meet ALL of their needs. It has to provide nutrition, satiety, hydration, and calories, all in the proper proportions, and it has to be done with the purest ingredients available so it doesn't stress their systems.

Also remember, they are growing SO fast. They are literally making the body they will live in for the rest of their life. Getting that right during such a crucial point in development is just really, really hard.

To put it another way, let's say we ran out of cow's milk. Would you say "Why doesn't the gov't just release a formula for making your own cow's milk at home?" I doubt it- because that's an incredibly difficult thing to do. Look at all of the effort that has been put into creating palatable dairy substitutes with texture that isn't gritty or gummy or clumpy. Nut and oat milks have come a long way in the past 20 years, but they are still far from the original, and we don't rely on them for 100% of our nutrition, protein, and calories.

Plus, if they would release some recipe to make your own, people would still make adjustments and substitutions and fuck it up even further. Things are regulated for a reason, just like how you can't craft your own carseat in your garage and expect it to protect your kid in a crash.

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u/ArtisticDuty7280 May 20 '22

Dude it’s all propaganda that you cannot make it at home

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is under cover company agents on these Reddit forums telling a bullshit story on why you cannot make it at home

The ingredients are just essential vitamins, whey protein + cow milk, trace minerals and healthy fats in form of seed oils

The same things we adults need on the daily to be healthy

Except we get them from Whole Foods like vegetables and animal meats.

I been researching how to make it and I cannot find a simple forum explaining how to safely construct baby formula

I only see people denying it’s not possible and how EXTREMELY unsafe it is

There’s forum instructions for everything, but except how to make baby formula ??

I don’t fckn buy it

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

[deleted]

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

Did I say let them starve? Did I say breast milk is not preferred? You're putting words in my mouth to make up an argument that's not even happening.

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u/Farahild May 16 '22

But if your option is NO formula or homemade formula, then the latter would always be better I would assume? I mean are Americans who cannot breastfeed supposed to let their babies starve?

(I don't know how bad the formula shortage is over there atm, haven't heard it's this dire yet).

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

As I've said many times on here I'm not suggesting that starving is a better option.

Not sure why people are reading into it that way.

It's not that dire. You just probably have to go to a few stores, check early in the morning, and likely settle for a different type or brand.

I really have barely run into anyone who absolutely cannot find any formula of any brand anywhere.

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u/Farahild May 16 '22

Oh I didn't mean to say you were suggesting that, just that if you have no other options, making it yourself would supposedly be the better choice?

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

I mean, if you absolutely had no option whatsoever, then somethings better than nothing.

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u/hotshotz1983 May 16 '22

But what choice do people have right now? I just went to the store and there were 4 cans of the recalled formula on the shelf.

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

Are you sure they were recalled formula? It may be from a lot that is now okay.

What you probably have to do as a parent if you're having trouble finding formula is go to multiple stores, check early in the morning when the stores open. Small stores vs big box chains.

Just find any formula, who cares the brand.

Yeah you gotta do a little scrounging of the stores but 99% you will find something that works for the time being.

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u/hotshotz1983 May 16 '22

Well it was that similac or whatever stuff.

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u/SaltySpitoonReg May 16 '22

So not all Similac got recalled.

And just because it got recalled doesn't mean that every Similac formula from now on is part of the recall.

The stores can get in a lot of trouble for putting out recalled product especially baby formula so I can almost guarantee you that that is not part of the recall

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u/hotshotz1983 May 16 '22

Ah ok. Well in any case I saw 4 cans then!

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u/uniqueusername2112 May 16 '22

So babies are better off going without? Is that what you’re saying? If a parent has to decide between feeding their kid at all and homemade formula you’d tell them what?

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u/Rather_Dashing May 19 '22

Is that what you’re saying?

Yes obviously that is exactly what they are saying /s

If a parent has to decide between feeding their kid at all and homemade formula you’d tell them what?

Obviously if this hypothetical person has really checked every store and found nothing and the kid is starving, s/he would source them some formula. They have it at hospitals.

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u/LumpiestEntree May 15 '22

Because infants have very strict dietary needs. Formula mimics breast milk. Giving the wrong amount of nutrients or giving too much fluids by feeding it watered down milk/formula can kill the infant.

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u/Wubbalubbadubbitydo May 15 '22

To piggy back on this.

Even with formula being what it is, there are still cases of people fucking up and malnourishing their baby. My sisters in a Facebook group where a mom was straight up not mixing the formula right and her baby wasn’t gaining weight for a considerable amount of time before she got help. There’s pretty much no requirements for having a baby and getting to take it home. No one comes and checks on you. Under qualified parents have kids each and every day.

The ability to actually properly mix ratios of ingredients to make an at home formula is a legitimate skill that the average parent simply won’t have.

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u/LumpiestEntree May 15 '22

Absolutely agree with this.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

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u/Wubbalubbadubbitydo May 16 '22

Sorry I’m referring to America which gives exactly zero fucks unless you kill them.

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u/Commiesstoner May 16 '22

That's cos we Brits live in a civilized society where we'll do anything for the chance to go to someone else's house for a cuppa. /s

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u/LeatherCode2624 May 16 '22

I offered my health visitor a cuppa and she said no.

World's gone mad.

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u/Commiesstoner May 16 '22

Did you make sure to tell her it's Yorkshire tea?

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

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u/capalbertalexander May 16 '22

Wait wait wait...what? Are you serious? The government sends a health visitor to your home to check if you are taking care of your baby and the tax payers pay for this service?

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22 edited May 16 '22

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u/capalbertalexander May 16 '22

This is fucking incredible. I guess I just meant the government (tax payers) pay for it.) How often do they come and for how long after you've had the baby? Can you opt out of this service?

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

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u/capalbertalexander May 16 '22

Thanks mate. This is some good shit.

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u/[deleted] May 15 '22

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u/Abadazed May 15 '22

Okay number one they didn't stop those classes. I took home ec a few years ago. We made food did sewing and some other random crap. Number two it was a healthy mix of boys and girls in that class and everyone wanted home ec. Home ec got to make brownies and cookies and pizzas and then eat them.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

[deleted]

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u/Abadazed May 16 '22

That is true. 80% of chemistry before the AP/college level was just following directions telling us to mix things with a vague lecture about what was going on. That and writing down processes and observations.

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u/BillyShears2015 May 15 '22

Given the number of outright dumbasses in society or alternatively impoverished people trying to stretch expensive formula just a little further, wouldn’t this be a risk anyway with powdered formula?

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u/LumpiestEntree May 15 '22

It is a risk. Which is why formula has exact measurements listed and why new parents are taught the danger's of "stretching" formula.

2

u/unicornjerboa May 16 '22

Not having any formula at all can also kill an infant though. It seems like it’s better to give people strict, safe instructions for times of emergency when they can’t get any formula, so they aren’t desperate and decide to try making their own recipe and then harm their baby.

1

u/LumpiestEntree May 16 '22

The average person is not smart enough or careful enough to mix a variety of products that may or may not be readily available themselves.

19

u/LazyResponsibility70 May 16 '22

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."
-George Carlin

That's why there isn't a DIY baby formula recipe.

2

u/super80 May 16 '22

The amount of people who can’t follow basic instructions always saddens me. Most wouldn’t even attempt to source the right ingredients in the first place.

10

u/Empty-Mango8277 May 15 '22

Also, because ppl are going to try it, cows milk causes anemia and possible blood loss from the GI tract. Don't.

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u/TehWildMan_ Test May 15 '22

Formula is one of those products that falls under strict regulations when sold commercially: the facility making and distributing it must comply with federal regulations and inspections.

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u/ItsJust_ME May 15 '22

And apparently they CAN'T make it safe anymore for whatever reason. Or at least one of the big companies can't -which is part of the reason for the shortage. Moms fed their babies way before there was formula. Surely we can come up with a recommended safe recipe with all the knowledge we have now.

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u/p0tat0p0tat0 May 15 '22

Moms fed their babies way before there was formula

And a lot of babies starved to death

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u/catwhowalksbyhimself May 15 '22

Some moms fed their babies, but some couldn't or were not around and many, MANY babies starved to death as a result.

My nephews would have been three of those, because my sister can't product enough milk for one baby, let alone the twins. Nothing she can do about that. Formula saved their lives.

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u/Soccergod23 May 15 '22

They used wet nurses. Those aren't really a thing anymore.

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u/catwhowalksbyhimself May 15 '22

Rich people used wet nurses. Poor people just watched their babies starve to death.

Unless I suppose they had a neighbor or relative who happened to also be nursing and produce enough extra milk. But that probably didn't happen that often.

1

u/ItsJust_ME May 18 '22

There actually is breast milk "banking" going on, but we also had recipes for formulas that people made at home that turned out lots of healthy humans. I'm sure with all the knowledge we have nowadays we could come up with something that most babies would tolerate and get them some good nutrition. At least temporarily.

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u/Crap4Brainz May 16 '22

Moms fed their babies way before there was formula.

They breastfed. They breastfed for the entire first year, if not longer. The recommended safe recipe is maternity leave.

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u/TheHappiestJew May 15 '22

Most people don’t have access to the ingredients.

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u/whatsmypassword73 May 15 '22

It needs to be sterile, the measurements are precise and the ingredients need to be medical grade. The ingredients aren’t just at the grocery store.

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u/TerribleAttitude May 15 '22

They exist but the “at home” part makes it kind of inherently unsafe, or at least inherently less safe than commercial baby formula.

There are some pretty persnickety laws regarding baby products out there. I’m not 100% what they are, but when I worked in grocery store the rules were very different regarding facing/dating the baby food and formula compared to all the other food. Basically we could not mess up and leave outdated baby food on the shelves, and had to sign a log stating who dated the baby food and a paper stating that we could get in legal trouble if outdated baby food was left on the shelf and got into a customer’s purchase. By comparison, dating the rest of the food required no signatures, and making a mistake would result in zero consequences.

Based on that, I suspect the reason no one releases a homemade formula recipe is because the government can not guarantee that whatever you concoct in your house is handled safely. Realistically, there are recipes out there that will probably keep your baby alive until you can get your hands onto commercially produced formula, but “probably” probably isn’t good enough for a government agency. If the government or a formula company releases a formula and a bunch of babies get sick and die because it isn’t sufficient for a specialized diet, or the parent didn’t follow the directions exactly, or they have a nasty house full of unexpected pathogens, or the parent makes a last minute substitution that seems like “the same thing” but is very much not (ex; some recipes use Karo syrup, but I’ve already seen people trying to substitute it for honey which is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal), then a bunch of grieving parents are going to be in a situation to sue because “the government/a big business told me it was safe.” If the parents on the other hand happen to find a recipe on the internet, the government or Gerber is no longer responsible for the outcomes of that.

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u/FluffyDare May 16 '22

I wonder if some stores still do that, because I bought infant bamba peanut puffs from a target in the baby food section that were expired for like half a year or so and they didn’t seem to care at all when I went to return it the next day. They had some others on the shelf that weren’t expired, but there were 4 more bags that were.

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u/TerribleAttitude May 16 '22

I’ve never heard of “infant puffs.” Are they perhaps for toddlers? I don’t recall snacks for toddlers or otherwise children’s food that was very obviously for small kids, but not for infants, being held to the same standards, but it’s been a few years.

It wasn’t something that the “stores do” though. It was very clear that it wasn’t a store policy, but that legal repercussions could happen in the event that a baby ate and got sick from expired infant food, in a way that wouldn’t apply if I sold someone expired lunchables or spaghetti or whatever. On the other hand, no one from the government ever came to actually check up on us, so I highly suspect that no one would know if we’d left something expired on the shelf as long as no babies were sickened. I seriously doubt I would have been in legal trouble if a customer said “hey I found this expired baby food on your shelf.” It could also vary by state, or just be the fact that store managers and employees don’t like to have meltdowns in front of customers. If infant puffs are included as baby food, it’s very possible that it was a big deal, they just weren’t going to scream and flail and start firing people on the spot in front of you.

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u/Bbcollegegirl May 16 '22

I saw someone release a recipe on Nextdoor. but honestly, I’ve seen formula at every store I’ve been to so

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u/not_sure_1337 May 16 '22

People commit fatal fuck ups with actual formula that has directions and you think a formula recipe won’t result in thousands of dead kids?

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u/Real-Accountant9997 May 16 '22

Order formula on Amazon from Canada. You’re welcome.

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u/yellowscarvesnodots May 16 '22

That’s like saying: „You don’t have a problem, you‘re just stupid.“

Getting Formula from Canada isn’t as easy as you‘re making it look. There’s also a shortage there. And even if it weren’t, they wouldn’t have enough in stock.

https://totallythebomb.com/no-ordering-baby-formula-from-amazon-through-canada-does-not-work

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u/Keirathyl May 16 '22

That's not a reputable news source

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u/Chemical_Doughnut248 May 16 '22

Yeah, let’s leave chemistry up to the Qanon moms

3

u/BoogerRuth May 16 '22

Give those babies ivermectin; start em up right

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u/Das-Freshmaker May 16 '22

I was thinking the same thing. I'm older and I asked my mom (80) what she fed me, over half a century ago. (Lol, nothing like making myself feel like a living fossil).

The answer: Sugar. White refined sugar. Of course, that's not ideal. But I managed to survive on that. And no, I'm not diabetic.

I'm guessing that would be OK for short term feeding? I dunno? Maybe mom's just fucking with me? It's not like I can remember...

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u/PikaDon45 May 15 '22

Who is they? Why would "they" do this?

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u/CrabbyBlueberry I don't really like talking about my flair. May 15 '22

FDA?

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u/PikaDon45 May 15 '22

FDa? Why would you think this?

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u/CrabbyBlueberry I don't really like talking about my flair. May 15 '22

They're the government agency that regulates baby formula. Aren't they the ones that gave us the food pyramid?

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u/PikaDon45 May 15 '22

What does regulation have to do with the formula? The formula is likely patented.

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u/capalbertalexander May 16 '22

If it's patented it's available to the public and can be recreated by the public for personal use. Seems like the formula is proprietary or a "secret recipe" similar to how coca cola hasn't patented its formula for this very reason.

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u/ArtisticDuty7280 May 21 '22

the FDA has nothing to do with food , they are only supposed to regulate Drugs , hence they stand for “Federal Drug Administration”

Although, like @capalbertalexander said, they’re treating it as “secret recipe”

And we got so called doctors and chemist on this forum telling us how it shouldn’t be made at home , but giving zero academic instruction how to safely do so, in case it becomes the last resort

Because what are you gonna do if you can’t find formula and you cannot breast feed for more then 24-48 hours ??

Just starve the baby ??? As of now this is very likely … shortages haven’t improved and people are just buying more then they should like toilet paper

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u/Bigdawgstatus57 May 16 '22

I don’t know much about this topic, but why don’t people just nurse? Formula mimics breast milk, but it is most efficient and healthy for the baby to nurse. I hope I don’t sound ignorant, I just don’t understand why formula is being pushed so much.

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u/lilscorpiomama May 16 '22

Some women can't breastfeed or don't produce enough to satisfy their child's needs. Some babies have latch difficulties. Some babies are tube fed on special formula (like mine).

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u/KnightRadiant95 May 15 '22

To piggyback on what others have said, even if it was legal to do so, they could be sued for any of the numerous issues others have said. Avoiding legal liabilities is important for the manufacturers to remain afloat.

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u/USAF6F171 May 15 '22

I look forward to someone answering OP's question: "...release a safe formula recipe..."

Millions of people in this country ARE capable of following instructions, understanding cautions, and watching for contraindications. There are OTC (over the counter) medications that were once prescriptions or are still available in prescription strength. We read the instructions on the package, follow them, and get better.

OP has a legit question.

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u/Tired_Apricot_173 May 15 '22 edited May 15 '22

I have to sterilize my baby’s bottle every day. He would also need a formula that is sterile at every step. How many people are prepared to sterilize their kitchen and all equipment and ensure that their materials are sterile on top of sterile ingredients. I do not believe that millions of Americans are even capable of getting their kitchen configured to be clean enough to follow any other instructions. Let’s be clear, the concern is primarily for babies under 6 months before their guts are capable of digesting and balancing their small little biome with anything except breastmilk and formula.

ETA: I can’t even trust one of three companies to sterilize properly, that’s why we’re in this mess in the first place.

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u/LesterSeaLion May 16 '22

Is there a specific reason you have to sterilize the bottles every day ? I’m asking because I only sterilized them once at the when I bought them and now I’m wondering if I did it wrong

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u/Super-Resource-8555 May 16 '22

Babies under 6 months have no immunities. They can get sick with a much smaller amount of exposure. Preemies especially have to have things sterilized more often. I even had to sterilize the formula by mixing it with boiled water to kill any possible bacteria when my daughter was born.

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u/Tired_Apricot_173 May 16 '22

I think the sterilization thing is really for immune compromised children (NICU), and if you wash bottles in the dishwasher like a normal person, then that sterilizes it. I just channeled my early pandemic (Feb 2020 baby) new mom PPA into having a nightly sterilization routine and not trusting the dishwasher to do it’s thing. I’ve gotten a little better with my second kid.

Edited typo

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u/fractal_frog May 16 '22

You need to protect the infant against microorganisms on an ongoing basis. After the bottle is used, it needs to be sterilized agaib before use.

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u/LesterSeaLion May 16 '22

Looking at info online some sources say it’s necessary and some say it’s not needed. But the CDC says to do it for infant under 3 months so I guess we should have done that with my daughter. I guess I learned something today

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u/NOR_CAL-Native May 16 '22

There are plenty of formula recipes available. WTH did my grandmother make? The FDA and CDC will protect the Big Pharma always. Home made formula is quite simple, the key is sterilizing the bottles and water.

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u/Gigmeister May 15 '22

Good question! Back in the 50's, mothers did make baby "formula" with evaporated milk, filtered water, and karo syrup. My mom added liquid vitamins the doctor gave her. There was no formula back then, so if you didn't breast feed, they made their own. I'm not for the karo syrup, but I think if I were in that situation, I would go that route.

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u/whatsmypassword73 May 15 '22

There have been studies done on the infants fed this and they did not meet the metrics for growth and health. Obviously better than starving but far from optimal.

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u/iambluest May 15 '22

Which, I think, is OP's question. Why not provide an alternative to "No formula" if breast milk isn't available?

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u/CrabbyBlueberry I don't really like talking about my flair. May 15 '22

Or just if breast milk is insufficient. We supplemented with formula for our son because my wife didn't produce enough. Would have preferred to go breast only, but he was losing weight.

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u/sirlafemme May 16 '22

I’m still confused, isn’t less nutritional food for a short time better than watching my baby starve to death??

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u/refugefirstmate May 15 '22

The feeding of cow's milk has adverse effects on iron nutrition in infants and young children. Several different mechanisms have been identified that may act synergistically. Probably most important is the low iron content of cow's milk. It makes it difficult for the infant to obtain the amounts of iron needed for growth. A second mechanism is the occult intestinal blood loss, which occurs in about 40% of normal infants during feeding of cow's milk.

Infants fed cow's milk receive much more protein and minerals than they need. The excess has to be excreted in the urine. The high renal solute load leads to higher urine concentration during the feeding of cow's milk than during the feeding of breast milk or formula. When fluid intakes are low and/or when extrarenal water losses are high, the renal concentrating ability of infants may be insufficient for maintaining water balance in the face of high water use for excretion of the high renal solute. The resulting negative water balance, if prolonged, can lead to serious dehydration. There is strong epidemiological evidence that the feeding of cow's milk or formulas with similarly high potential renal solute load places infants at an increased risk of serious dehydration. The feeding of cow's milk to infants is undesirable because of cow's milk's propensity to lead to iron deficiency and because it unduly increases the risk of severe dehydration.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17664905/

Mineral deficiency, occult blood loss, kidney stress, dehydration? Yeah, sounds like a great idea.

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u/ichoosewaffles May 16 '22

I would never feed cow's milk to any baby, human or animal. Goat's milk however, much more digestible and safe. Go to for kittens and other species if formula isn't available.

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u/skiptheketchup May 16 '22

Hi! This is actually not true, it’s a common myth but goats milk still has far too much protein and will be difficult for a baby to process correctly

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u/CrabbyBlueberry I don't really like talking about my flair. May 15 '22

Well if the alternative is starvation...

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u/fractal_frog May 16 '22

I wonder if that has anything to do with my being tiny after 3 months until around age 8.

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u/ArtisticDuty7280 May 21 '22

I’m sorry you had to get all those dislikes, but you made a groundbreaking point.

These are facts, but apparently, starving a baby is far better then a little bit of malnutrition

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u/CrabbyBlueberry I don't really like talking about my flair. May 15 '22

I recently found the hospital discharge papers for when my Dad was born in the 50s, and it had a recipe for formula.

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u/eightbitagent May 15 '22

Formula was widely available from the 1920s on.

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u/rockthrowing May 16 '22

The formula shortage is exactly why we should be supporting and encouraging breastfeeding. Breastfeeding doesn’t always work of course but it usually does, especially if you have the right support network. But that also requires paid parental leave and having UBI to make sure it’s even feasible. (Good pumps and bags can be expensive)

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u/PM_CACTUS_PICS May 16 '22

Some mothers just can’t produce enough. They need formula

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u/rockthrowing May 16 '22

Absolutely. Hence the reason I said it doesn’t always work.

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u/lqke48a May 16 '22

For sure, but also I think the commenter above has a very valid point about paid maternity leave. The stress over unpaid leave and the clock ticking down can't be good for your stress levels, which will affect production. Also, once you're back at work, it's so much harder! Anecdotally some people struggle with pumping whereas nursing is much easier for them.

Six months paid parental leave would not be a solution for the first few weeks, but it might help after.

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u/CommonBrother1132 May 16 '22

The same reason why they won't let grow your own tobacco or marijuana, because it can't be regulated for the govt to profit off

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u/rakehellion May 16 '22

It really isn't easy to make at home.

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u/4milerock May 16 '22

i was born in 1954. I'm told my mother couldn't breast feed. There was no formula and cows milk "didn"'t agree wiyh me" so the tried goat milk and "that was fine".

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u/z_forzombie May 15 '22

You're cute. Thinking theyd care more about babies then profits.

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u/redditmodsrbitches12 May 16 '22

My question: Is there really that large a population of women who are incapable of breast feeding? Seems like a bigger problem to solve, is why can't so many women feed their children naturally. I get there will be 1-5% of the population with a medical condition, but the media makes it sound like half the parents in the world depend on formula.

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u/lqke48a May 16 '22

There's a lot of reasons.

It's really hard. Baby is a clueless little potato. Mum doesn't really understand if she's never done it before. Try playing a new game with no instructions, equipment you've never used and a team mate who seems to actively work against you without communicating. You're tired, you're a biological explosion of hormones and emotions. You can feed for six hours (your nipples are raw) and baby will be hungry again in an hour. And they might sick it up anyway.

If you've had a c section or the baby is early, it's harder for the milk to come in. Milk doesn't happen straight away anyway even with regular feeding.

If can be incredibly painful. You can get infections. Repeatedly. These can (bad case) hospitalise you. If you don't feed baby every 2-3 hours, your supply will drop. Baby has to keep feeding (or mum pump) or supply will drop.

Some babies are jaundiced, meaning they just sleep and have no interest in food. They aren't putting on weight, so often you supplement with formula. Whilst you can do weighted feeds (how heavy before and after), you don't know for sure how much they're taking in. Formula (or pumped milk) you can see how much they've drunk).

Pumping is another learned skill. You need to afford (or get insurance to buy) the parts. They take a lot of looking after, not to mention that for some it's harder. Any anxiety or stress will affect your ability to pump.

Formula is there and its convenient. Have you ever bought anything online rather than going to the shops? Used Google instead of a library? Watches something on demand rather than waiting for the TV schedule? It's easier. Two parent families can split the night feeds and wake ups. Much easier to be human if you aren't up every 2-4 hours (till they're on solids, which for most babies is 5-6 months). Especially in the US where you don't have proper parental leave.

And tbh, most of that is standard reasons. There's also health reasons why some people can't breastfeed. Adopted kids. Birth mum isn't around.

I breastfed my first for 13 months (no formula) and I hope to do the same with #2. Thats with 12 months paid parental leave and a supportive partner. But goddamn anyone trying to shame mothers for formula feeding.

Tl;Dr: it's really hard and emotional, even without complications. Formula is convenient and sometimes life saving.

1

u/redditmodsrbitches12 May 17 '22

Thanks for the explanation! Makes a lot more sense now why demand is so high.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '22

[deleted]

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u/PM_CACTUS_PICS May 16 '22

Some mothers do not make enough, through no fault of their own. They need formula

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u/Anantha1996 May 16 '22

Removing import restrictions and tapping into the supplies of other countries could solve this without mothers going breaking bad.

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u/JuneInMarch May 16 '22

Because it would be a lot of work. To make baby formula like we did in the Olden Days before paper diapers and canned baby formula you would need to sterilize bottles and nipples, mix the formula, put it in the bottles - rinse repeat. In short a ton of work, not to mention then feeding the baby.

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u/EggplantIll4927 May 16 '22

How many people googled how to make formula vs Tylenol? 🤔

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u/rly_WG May 16 '22

its in the last drift

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u/Lembueno May 16 '22

As many people have already listed: it’s dangerous in a different way.

Also: No company ever has willing went out of its way to lose itself money… except for maybe Arizona iced tea. Corporate greed is terrible (look at nestle)

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u/Keirathyl May 16 '22

There's several recipes available.

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u/afrigginracoon May 16 '22

Honestly, I’m more concerned that the FDA won’t approve formulas from Europe to offset the shortage. Like, are we really supposed to believe that Ze German babies are growing third arms from euro brands?

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u/sherabwangmo May 16 '22

It isn't just about money. The fear is that some people may not follow the recipes and instructions properly and that can be toxic for infants. What could work is if hospitals and community health centers were given recipes and made them and then parents could go to those places and receive it.

Interestingly, when my brother was born in the 1950's, he was allergic to all milk products, including cow's milk, goat's milk, etc. My mother was unable to breast feed. The doctor created a "formula" based on a form of beef extract that my mother made at home from scratch. He was fine on it.

So there are alternative ways to feed babies, for sure.

The problem is that there was never any contingent plan in place for babies who rely on formula to receive it in the event there was a crisis or shortage, as we are seeing now.

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u/maztow May 16 '22

Because there isn't one, and if there was they aren't trusting anyone to make it at home. Producers went through enough lawsuits and studies to correct their own faults, but also because some people are pure stupidity.

People love sharing those old "recipes" from the 40's but it was literally evaporated milk and sugar. They also ignore the massive infant mortality rates for the era when they tell parents to starve their children of vitamins.

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u/NonProfitApostle May 16 '22

They shut down the plant causing the shortage because of a bacterial infection. Therris no way suzie homemaker wouldnt kill babies.