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DIY, diluted formula not safe alternatives

With a state of emergency now in effect in New Jersey for an ongoing shortage of infant formula, the state’s poison control center is warning against the use of what it calls dangerous substitutes for infant nutrition.

In one version Thusday the center, based in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said suggestions online and on social media that recipes for diluted or do-it-yourself formulas are safe are “misinformation “.

“Commercial/manufactured infant formula and human breast milk contain essential micronutrients and vitamins that babies need at every feeding,” the statement said.

The center cited almond, cow’s and goat’s milk, rice drinks, protein shakes and honey as examples of dangerous substitutes, as well as home remedies and watered-down commercial formulas, saying such alternatives ” can quickly lead to serious nutritional deficiencies”.

Executive and medical director Diane Calello said in the statement that replacing formula can have “devastating results” that are “dangerous and life-threatening.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that three separate cases of infants fed homemade formula resulted in low calcium levels and vitamin D-deficient rickets, and that diluted formula could cause electrolyte imbalances or brain swelling.

The New Jersey Poison Control Center pointed to recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics that parents should use in emergencies only, if they cannot locate the formula, and recommended consulting the pediatrician in a baby before any emergency decisions are made.

In case of illness caused by a diluted or homemade preparation, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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