Valley Children's Hospital doctor urging parents to not make their own baby formula

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf says "we now have a path forward" for the reopening of Abbott's Michigan plant, the nation's largest manufacturer of baby formula.

"I'm hearing from parents, I'm getting those frantic messages saying I can't find the formula that we want. What do we do next," Dr. Hailey Nelson said.

Finding formula on store shelves is a challenge these days.

A recent recall from a leading baby formula maker has led to the shortage -- leading many families to turn to social media for answers.

RELATED: Baby formula maker Abbott says agreement reached with FDA to reopen Sturgis, Michigan facility

But pediatrician Dr. Hailey Nelson with Valley Children's Healthcare is discouraging parents from making their own formula.

"My home kitchen is not a sterile environment," she said. "I can't replicate that sort of situation to be able to confidently make something that's not going to make my baby sick. That's why we want to stick with the manufactured products that are available."

Experts also warn against trying to dilute the formula.

"Watering it down actually decreases the calories, increases the water and their kidneys aren't able to process that," Dr. Nelson said. "Babies are coming in dehydrated and sick because parents were just trying to make their formula last."

According to Dr. Nelson, switching brands of formula is a safe option for babies but it can make life at home tougher for a few days.

"If you have a child and you're changing brands, yes, you might experience gas and you don't always know if it's from the formula or maybe it's just a gassy day," she said. "All babies spit up, all babies can have gas."

The CDC says one in four mothers breastfeed exclusively up to six months and it's not recommended to give babies cow's milk until they reached their first birthday.

"Formula has different nutrients and minerals in it than regular cow's milk."
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