On May 17, Governor Jared Polis announced a partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB) through the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation to help with the baby formula shortage affecting Colorado and the rest of the United States.
Luckily, our shortages aren't as bad here as they are in other states.
With the milk bank, Polis is hoping to ensure all Colorado newborns get the nutrition they require without parents having to resort to extreme measures, such as making their own formula.
Warning against homemade formula
“Some parents are facing the unthinkable reality of not being able to feed their children through no fault of their own," said Governor Polis in a press release. "It is critical that we use every option out there to make sure our infants do not go hungry.”
One option, experts don't want you to try is homemade formula.
Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer and vice president, Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Urgent Care talked about homemade formula in a live virtual event last week.
"There are a lot of Youtube videos," says Spinner, "I'll tell you, the moms look really convincing."
But creating nutritionally balanced formula is not as simple as these Youtubers make it look and could be dangerous for your baby.
"We’re talking about little babies, it doesn’t take much to effect them...It can be very very dangerous," says Spinner.
Choosing the right formula
The Colorado WIC, (The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) has released recommendations for parents worried by the shortages.
"It is important to continue to use approved formulas so your baby receives all the nutrients they need for healthy growth," says WIC. "Do not add extra water to your baby's formula, make your own formula at home, or use cow’s milk. This could cause your baby to not get enough nutrients and impact your baby’s growth, development, and health."
Be wary of formula for sale online. Also avoid using milk that's not through a milk bank or an official FDA approved source.
What if you are topping up breastfeeds with formula?
Some mothers use formula to top up their breastfeeds, especially if they feel their own supply is low.
There are steps you can take to increase your supply.
The WIC recommends breastfeeding more often to increase your milk supply and reduce the need for infant formula.
"The more milk that is removed, the more milk your body will make," they explain.
Your baby may need to feed for longer or more often to build up your supply. Talk to a consultant if you need advice.