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Baby formula shortage: Experts say don't dilute or DIY

Doctors warn against watering down formula or making it at home, despite the shortage.

MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly three months after the Food and Drug Administration's warning not to use infant formula products from Abbott Nutrition's Sturgis, Michigan facility, the FDA announced it's doing its best to expedite the manufacturing process and also by going a little softer on minor labeling issues

They also said they would be expediting the review process for foreign baby formula products already approved to enter into the U.S. among other steps.

Minnesota Senator Tina Smith said in a statement: 

"The FDA is vital to ensuring safe food and food supplements, specifically infant formula in this case. I am worried that the FDA has not paid enough attention to the food safety side of their mission. I will use my positions on the Agriculture Committee and the Health Committee to determine why this is and what we in Congress can do to help the FDA ensure that there is access to safe food and food supplements."

While lawmakers attempt to identify quicker solutions, parents are still scrambling. Some are even floating the idea of making their own formulas, which is something both the FDA and Dr. Krishnan Subrahmanian from Hennepin Healthcare are warning against.

"And don't water down trying to make it last," he added. "I know both those things can be very tempting, they can also be very dangerous."

Dr. Subrahmanian said switching to a different formula that may be a generic brand, might be helpful. Here's a list of approved substitutions by the Minnesota Women Infant and Children.

"What is the kind of protein that makes up the predominance of my baby's formula, and what would be an appropriate and safe substitute?" Dr. Subrahmanian said. "It's not going to be a 100% substitution, baby may have a little more gas, a little more spit up, but at least it will be in the safe realm."

He also said if the baby is old enough, slowly making the switch to other foods may also be an option.

"If your baby just turned six months, you can start experimenting with the appropriate baby foods," Dr. Subramanian said. "And talking to your provider to get some guidance on how to safely introduce those."

The FDA did say that if a baby has medical needs and is in dire need of specialized formula, they would do so on a case-by-case basis out of the stock that has been on hold at Abbott's Sturgis facility.

You can find WIC's approved list of substitutions here.

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