How baby formula shortage in the U.S. has affected infant nutrition


Americans are facing an acute shortage of baby food. The formula shortage has passed the 40% mark, and retailers are only jacking up prices. Supply problems and the recall of a large batch of baby food have led to this situation. 

Another factor contributing to the baby food crisis is America’s regulatory and trade policies. FDA regulation of infant formula is so strict that most products coming from Europe cannot be purchased here because of technical aspects such as labeling requirements. And in times of crisis, the lack of alternative supplies becomes quite a big problem. There are no questions about the quality of the European formula: studies have shown that it can be even better than the American formula in some respects because the European Union bans certain types of sugar (such as corn syrup). 

These sudden changes make many parents nervous because when it is impossible to breastfeed, and there is no formula, the health of babies can be at risk. Hospitals are ready to help infants in emergencies. 

Social media started sharing DIY baby food recipes, but experts urged against it, as the homemade formula may contain harmful ingredients. So let’s figure out how to solve such a problem and choose a quality and safe alternative. 

What’s in baby formula?

Since formulas are designed for infants, they contain only natural and easily digestible components. So, in each baby formula bottle, there must be proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which are the main nutrients. They also add fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and taurine. 

Depending on the manufacturer, there may also be additional ingredients. For example, lutein is added to formula composition to protect the eye retina and stimulate memory development. Parents should be cautious about formula composition as the baby’s digestive system is still immature and needs support. And what a good baby formula should be free of is sugar, soy, starch, and palm oil.

Homemade baby formula

There are parents who prefer homemade baby food to give their kids vital substances. Such recipes are published in huge numbers on social networks. One of them, allegedly developed in the last century, includes corn syrup, condensed milk, and water as its main ingredients. Experts urge parents not to make homemade formula because it can harm their babies. 

The regular formulas are specifically designed to meet babies’ metabolic and nutritional needs at different stages of their development. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to recreate the right balance of nutrients in the homemade one. Bacterial contamination is also risky when making or altering the formula. Instead, it is recommended to look for products of less popular brands and keep them in stock. If you can’t find your preferred formula brand, check the list of approved formula substitutes. 

In such cases, organic European formula can be a great alternative to continue healthy and safe feeding your little one. But it would help if you did not dilute it with extra water because this can cause babies to miss out on beneficial components.

Is it safe to switch to a new formula?

Nutritionists recommend contacting your doctor or pediatrician to see if they have any specific recommendations for formula, especially if your baby gets therapeutic baby food. Some clinics or hospitals may also have baby food samples to distribute. Temporarily switching formulas is another option. It’s safe for most healthy infants to use a different formula unless there is a medical indication for using a particular one. 

Whatever formula the doctor prescribes, the transition should be smooth – within a week and a half to two weeks. Sometimes an infant can switch to a different formula relatively easily without experiencing any problems. Try giving your baby some new formula to see how he or she reacts. If there are no problems, switch completely to the new product. If this does not happen and the new formula causes allergies, digestive issues, or other problems, you will need to visit your pediatrician. 

That is why it is so important to carefully consider the choice of formula – because frequent product changes will not be good for the child, but on the contrary, can cause digestive disorders – because it takes time and effort to get used to the new formula.



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