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Pediatrician shares advice for parents struggling with formula shortage

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 5:43 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) --  Many families are still having trouble finding baby formula because of the nationwide shortage. It has parents scrambling to find the formula they need to feed their babies.

“This is a crisis and it doesn’t seem like there is going to be an easy way out and I feel for all of those parents,” Dr. Ben Hoffman, from OHSU, said.

Hoffman said there are important things families need to be aware of as we wait for the shortage to be resolved.

Hoffman said never dilute formula by adding extra water to make it go further.

“Formula is designed specifically to be as close to human breast milk as it can be and anything that we do that doesn’t follow the specific recommendations from the manufacturer about how to add water etcetera can make it dangerous for babies,” he said. He also said not to make your own formula.

“I know there are a lot of recipes out there on the web etcetera (1;36) it may look like the right stuff but it’s just not going to be the same,” she said. “While I think that might be tempting to families and I think people are incredibly creative and there is information out there that says it’s safe, it’s just not.” Hoffman also said to be weary of imported formula.

“Formulas from Europe have different standards and may or may not be safe and certainly formulas that come from places that you’re not sure about really what the source is I would be careful about,” he said. Hoffman said it’s important not substitute with toddler formula, cows milk or any other plant-based milks.

“Toddler formulas are something I think created by the industry to help continue to drive market share but those toddler formulas are not interchangeable with infant formulas,” Hoffman said. “Cows milk is perfect for baby cows, human breast milk is perfect for baby humans and formula is cows milk that’s been adjusted so that it’s close to human breast milk as it could possibly be.” He also said while we’re in the middle of this crisis, not to worry about specific brands.

“All the store brands come out of the same factory and so they’re essentially the same,” he said. “Think about it like Cola you may have your favorite brand of Cola but at the end of the day it’s all Cola I think the formulas are kind of like that.” Hoffman also said right now it’s vital that families not hoard formula.

“There are other people out there who are going to be in the same situation I hope this gets resolved as quickly as possible,” he said.