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Looking for baby formula? Doctors warn about 3 dangerous ideas

Alternatives on social media that may not be safe
Infant formula shortage
Posted at 12:15 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 12:15:43-04

CINCINNATI — Can't find baby formula? Many new moms are reaching out on social media for help and ideas.

But pediatricians are warning about some solutions that are no solution, and could even be dangerous to babies in some cases.

First-time mother Danielle Flory didn't expect to bring home her baby with no formula to feed her.

Her daughter was born premature and requires a specific kind of formula, that she is now struggling to find.

"I'm afraid this is going to stunt her growth," Flory said, "and that she's not gonna gain weight like she should."

Thousands of moms like her are searching for baby formula, and turning to questionable and dangerous solutions in some cases.

So doctors across the country are now urging parents to think twice before trying three solutions.

Making your own formula

Social media is now ablaze with formula alternatives you can make at home, including links to some old recipes from the 1940's and 1950's, that your grandmother may have used.

But doctors are warning about these recipes.

Pediatrician Dr. Scott Dattel told our Scripps sister station KSHB that it's all about the nutrients babies need, and says homemade formulas don't supply the proper amount.

Worse, doctors say homemade formula can also contain harmful bacteria, sugars, and other ingredients that new babies should not have.

"For people to do home recipes and home concoctions, it's dangerous to say the least," he said.

What about the fact it comes from the "good old days?"

It is worth remembering that in the 1950's parents washed their babies with hexachlorophene soap, now considered toxic for infants, and in the 1970's expectant moms often took Bendectin, which was discontinued after being blamed for hundreds of birth defects.

Buying formula from Canada

Another claim making the rounds on Facebook right now says if you need formula, you can find it in Canada, and can simply purchase it from Amazon's Canadian website

Indeed, you will find more formula for sale in Canada, where the shortage is not as bad. But there is a problem with that too.

According to the women's blog Totally The, you will get an error code if you try to order directly from Amazon Canada, once you put in a US address. redirects you to the American Amazon site, where that formula will no longer be available.

Meantime, you may find formula for sale at Canadian pharmacies, but beware shipping costs as high as $50 a container.

Buying formula on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist

Finally, be on the lookout for social media formula scams. Make sure the seller is local, and that you can meet them and see what they are selling.

It could be expired formula, open containers of formula, or nothing at all.

Kentucky mom Elizabeth Snyder paid $50 via a money transfer app for formula she found on Facebook Marketplace.

"The seller said I can send them to you," Snyder told our sister station WLEX. "She sent me a photo of 14 cans of formula on her shelf, otherwise I would have thought it was sketchy. "

But the formula never showed up, and her $50 was gone.

"Who does that to a mother?" Snyder asked.

Desperate for formula? Talk to your pediatrician, who may have some samples, connections to a new supply, or other ideas that can work, so you don't waste your money.


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8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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