You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Fact check: No, manufactured and homemade baby formula are not the same

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/24/2022 Ana Faguy, USA TODAY
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

The claim: Homemade formula is a safe substitute for manufactured formula

Olivia Godden feeds her infant son, Jaiden, baby formula, Friday, May 13, 2022, at their home in San Antonio. Godden has reached out to family and friends as well as other moms through social media in efforts to locate needed baby formula which is in short supply. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) ORG XMIT: TXEG104 © Eric Gay, AP Olivia Godden feeds her infant son, Jaiden, baby formula, Friday, May 13, 2022, at their home in San Antonio. Godden has reached out to family and friends as well as other moms through social media in efforts to locate needed baby formula which is in short supply. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) ORG XMIT: TXEG104

Recalls and supply chain strains have caused nearly 45% of baby formula to be sold out at retailers across the U.S.

In response, some parents have turned to social media seeking alternatives to manufactured infant formula. 

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

A May 16 Facebook post included one of many homemade infant formula recipes spreading on social media in recent weeks. 

This particular recipe, which accrued more than 1,200 shares in eight hours, suggested parents use coconut oil, brown rice syrup and powdered goat's milk formula, among other things. 

But medical experts warn against using homemade formula, saying it won't have the same nutritional value and can be dangerous for infants.

Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.

Homemade recipes are not safe substitutes

Homemade recipes are "extremely dangerous" and are not safe substitutes for manufactured formulas, according to American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson Dr. Mark Corkins.

Infant formula is a nutrient-dense product, developed from extensive research, according to Corkins and Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and author who practices in Southern California.

Fact checkNo, goat's milk is not a substitute for baby formula, experts say

They both said it's nearly impossible to replicate manufactured infant formula with ingredients found at a grocery store, and by trying to recreate re-create the product at home, parents risk contaminating the product.

Even before the formula shortage, the pediatrics academy and the Food and Drug Administration advised against feeding infants homemade formula. 

"Infant formula can be the sole source of nutrition for infants and is strictly regulated by the FDA," the agency's statement says. "Homemade infant formula recipes have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant’s growth."

Doctors also have warned against watering down formula or substituting nonhuman milk in place of infant formula.

"You're not going to get enough nutrients. ... You're diluting your nutrition, and (that will) affect their growth, including things like brain growth," Corkins told USA TODAY, adding that homemade formula can lead to similar health consequences.

Fact check: Image of boxes in warehouse unrelated to baby formula shortage

USA TODAY has debunked a claim that goat milk was a healthier substitute for formula.

Our rating: Missing context 

Based on our research, we rate MISSING CONTEXT the claim that homemade formula is a safe substitute for manufactured formula, because without additional information, recipes for homemade formula are misleading. Pediatricians have advised against using homemade formula in place of manufactured formula. Homemade formula does not have the same nutrients, and there is a risk of contamination when making it. 

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Contributing: Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: No, manufactured and homemade baby formula are not the same

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From USA TODAY

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon