Texas Hospital Offers Advice to Parents on Baby Formula Shortage

Kelly E.

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Texan parents worried as formula shortage continues.By Tom Merton/Caia Image

The baby formula shortage urged the Texas Children's Hospital to run an online virtual event on Wednesday morning.

After being inundated by calls from worried parents, the hospital wanted to ensure parents knew the facts and were able to keep their babies safely fed.

How did the shortage happen?

Around 43% of baby formula in the US is produced by one company, Abbott Nutrition the food sector of Abbott Laboratories.

On February 17, Abbot voluntarily recalled certain formulas produced in the Sturgis plant after babies fell ill.

Abbott has shut down the plant until safety of the baby formula can be ensured and the FDA approves their reopening.

What the Texas doctors recommend:

Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer and vice president, Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Urgent Care was concerned about parents making their own homemade formula.

"There are a lot of Youtube videos," says Spinner, "I'll tell you, the moms look really convincing."

He recognizes how difficult and stressful it is to find milk for your baby, but it needs to be done right.

"We’re talking about little babies, it doesn’t take much to effect them...It can be very very dangerous," he says.

He is also warning parents not to water down formula to make it last longer.

What about donated milk?

Dr. Amy Hair, neonatologist and program director for neonatal nutrition, also spoke during the event.

Dr. Hair recommended in the virtual call against sharing milk or buying it online without a formal milk bank.

"While the thought is good, we really worry about the risks to babies that parents may not be aware of," Hair said. "Infection risks. Bacteria risks. There can be additives in the milk that you’re unaware of."

"We do have a way to donate milk," says Hair.

As for using other formulas than your usual one, Hair says to try to be open to a different brand, but make sure it's from a reputable source.

If you want to donate breast milk in Texas you can go to the Texas Children's Hospital website to find out more.

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