Homemade Baby Formula: Risks and Considerations

Parents’ motivations for using homemade infant formula can be quite varied. However, these are not the most convenient. For what reason?

Last update: 25 January, 2022

The topic of using homemade baby formula is quite controversial. Information has been circulating for some time indicating that it can be prepared easily and cheaply. However, professionals question it.

First of all, Ideally, babies should be fed with breast milk. This has been classified as “the best food”, due to its nutritional composition and its benefits. But if for some reason it is not possible to supply it, or if complementary nutrition is required, the pediatrician may suggest formula milk.

Eye! the latter is not the same as home preparations. The recipes that circulate on the Internet are not safe and may not meet the needs of the little ones. Are you interested in knowing more about it? Next, we give you more details.

baby nutrition

Just a few decades ago, it was normal to make homemade baby formula. Some even opted for feeding with whole cow’s milk or goat’s milk. But nevertheless, It was found that these practices entailed various risks for infants. For this reason, they have been eliminated in almost the entire world.

Physicians and governments began to promote breastfeeding as the optimal nutritional pathway for infants. Commercial formulas have been reserved for special cases only. In addition, these are subject to rigorous control processes that ensure their quality and safety.

Right now it is known that The first year of life is critical for optimal brain and body development. Therefore, it is essential to ensure a complete supply of essential nutrients. Otherwise, the consequences can range from mild to serious, in the short and long term. Even this happens if the nutritional deprivation is temporary.

Breastfeeding is the main way of feeding babies, as it ensures an optimal supply of nutrients.

Homemade Baby Formula Problems

Generally speaking, homemade infant formula cannot be considered a viable option. These types of prescriptions have not been supervised by competent professionals, nor do they have the authorization of the entities responsible for the subject.

For the above, it cannot be guaranteed that contain the nutrients what the baby needs For their develpment. Consequently, in the medium and long term it can be the trigger for various health problems in the minor.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) associated the use of homemade infant formula with some cases of hospitalization for hypocalcemia (low calcium). Incidentally, he warned that there are more risks.

Risks of Homemade Baby Formula

By tradition, there are those who consider the use of homemade formulas to feed babies harmless. The truth of it all is that the evidence points to several potential risks. The most prominent are the following.

Nutrient ratio

Homemade baby formula recipes are imprecise; therefore, its nutrients may be deficient or excessive. In both cases they can influence the appearance of diseases. For example, excess sodium is linked to kidney damage. Meanwhile, a low amount of calcium prevents healthy bone development.

The price for using homemade formulas for babies can be quite high from a developmental and health standpoint. The same happens even with recipes that use organic products. Be careful and seek professional advice.

contamination and infections

Another big problem with this type of product is that it does not meet the required hygiene and decontamination standards. This situation is quite serious, since It can be the trigger for life-threatening diseases.

If the homemade formula becomes contaminated, it can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, among other conditions that endanger the life of the baby. Remember that your immune system is still immature, so there is a greater vulnerability to viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Tips for choosing an infant formula

It is best to refrain from using homemade baby formulas. As we already noted, the most recommended is breastfeeding. If this is not possible, a commercial formula must be used. The latter complies with the standards established by health entities.

Fortunately, today several presentations are marketed, with different composition and characteristics. In addition to the classics, the best known are the following:

  • soy formulas. Recommended for babies with lactose intolerance or galactosemia (inability to digest one of the milk sugars).
  • hypoallergenic formulas. These types of formulas contain hydrolyzed proteins and are often effective for feeding babies with milk protein allergies.
  • Anti-reflux formulas. They help reduce vomiting and regurgitation.
Commercial formula milk should be used only in special cases. In addition, it should be chosen with the advice of the pediatrician.

When to see the doctor?

If parents or caregivers have used homemade infant formula, what is indicated is that they notify the pediatrician. This is even more important if there have been any symptoms of discomfort in the little one or if they have deficiencies in their growth and development.

Remember that symptoms of problems in babies should be reported and treated as soon as possible. It is not necessary to wait to see how they evolve, but to give them attention as soon as possible. In case of any allergic reaction, the consultation is considered urgent.

What is there to remember?

Many of the effects of inadequate nutrition are not obvious, nor do they appear immediately. These are seen in the medium or long term and, in some cases, become irreversible. Given this risk, homemade infant formula cannot be considered a valid option.

The pediatrician is the ideal person to guide in this aspect. The most advisable thing is to consult with him before making any change in the child’s diet. If necessary, this professional will also indicate which is the most suitable formula alternative in each case.

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