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Doctors warn against 'Do It Yourself' baby formula amid ongoing shortage

Posted at 10:15 PM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 01:15:30-04

Melissa Matthew has a set schedule for feeding her five children, all under the age of five.

Including her 5-month-old triplets who eat every two hours.

But feeding her newborn children has turned into a reoccurring nightmare for Melissa and her husband.

When Abbott Laboratories shut down because of FDA recalls, the plant decreased formula production in the U.S. It's now looking to restart operations soon.

Matthew says, “I would just buy three cans at a time and never had an issue until last weekend when I went to go get formula and there was none.”

Her triplets go through one can of formula in just two days. Meaning, she’s scouring social media, asking friends and family to help find food for her babies.

“It’s scary because we don’t know when it’s going to get better,” Matthew becomes emotional. “I’ve been able to secure three weeks of formula, but what are we going to do after that? And then people say, ‘Oh you just breastfeed’, well, I’m pumping around the clock. You know, I can only produce so much milk."

As we’ve reported, many stores have a limit on how many jars of formula you can buy to ensure hoarding doesn’t happen.

But for Matthew, “It doesn’t matter if you have triplets, they’re saying you can only have ‘X’ amount of cans. They’re not accommodating for how many babies we’re feeding.”

The supply shortage reportedly causing unsafe practices so that parents can feed their babies.

“People who are diluting their formula,” Matthew continues. “I’ve already seen people price gauging. They’re charging $70 to $100 a can and people are going to pay it or people are just like, ‘Oh make your own milk’. But is that safe?”

We reached out to ABC15’s Health Insider, Doctor Janice Johnston about the dangers of ‘Do It Yourself’ formula. Dr. Johnston says, "What we worry about really are a couple of things. One that what's going into the formula is safe and sterile for a baby is able to be digested as well. And it's in the proper ratios of protein and fat and minerals and vitamins.”

And long-term effects of DIY formula could impact a baby’s growth and development says Dr. Johnston.

Doctors suggest mothers in need visit breast milk banks or reaching out to a pediatrician or family doctor if they have formula samples.