I’ve seen the videos of desperate moms crying. Out here on the other side of the Atlantic, we’re mostly in shock to see one of the world’s richest nations running out of baby formula because one company screwed up and didn’t have a backup plan. Capitalism as an ideology lesson learned hopefully, but in the meantime, there are hungry babies.
It seems the internet has been swept or algorithmically altered to discourage homemade baby formula recipes. This is fair since for the long term, they are not ideal. However, neither is over dependence on manufactured products, especially when one company can bring down the whole chain of availability. Most of us who abide the fringes aren’t using the most popular products to begin with, but with those products being unavailable, supplies of the organic clique beloved products are running low there too.
So I’m just going to put this out there. I breastfed until my daughter weaned herself at almost 2 years old. I just wasn’t making enough, and she had discovered yogurt. So unless I was going to start squirting strawberry peach slightly sour milk with a custard like thickness, my boobs were obsolete. There were times though, when the boob wasn’t available, and I hadn’t expressed enough for the hours I’d be away or getting some much needed sleep.
We used soy formula for these situations because it seemed the lesser evil than cow’s milk based products. We had a plan though, for in case I died or something. That was to use the grandma-who’s-a-nurse recipe. This is a mix of powders normally used for bodybuilding. It’s basically fortified soy milk mix, and whey protein mixed according to package directions with unsalted bone broth instead of water. Same sterilization rules as baby formula.
Again, this is not ideal. It might be too much of some things or too little of some things. It will do the job though, of keeping a baby from starving for a week or so. If you are in the position of needing this more than a week, keep a close eye on your baby for any signs of nutritional deficiencies. If you have access, you should stay in close touch with your pediatrician, but if not there are pediatric nurses and experienced midwives and care givers taking care of special needs babies you may talk to. Get on Mastodon and ask around. Someone who is an actual health professional will help you.
Just in case, many eastern European health food stores carry infant vitamins. Infant nutrition for working moms was an issue during soviet times, so folks from that part of the world take nothing for granted as far as supplies. If your child is 6 months old, they may have to start taking more solid food than you’d planned before the emergency. Don’t skimp on the “milk” though. Keep making them formula until they’re at least 3 or 4 years old or until they don’t want anymore.
I know most people who are into natural food aren’t fans of soy, but we’re talking about an emergency. If you really can’t see using soy at all, use goat milk, or try to find a source of horse or camel milk.
In Africa and India, a common standby for times when breastfeeding is impossible and formula is difficult or impossible to find, they make a kind of coconut, banana, and millet porridge that seems to work. This may be a good emergency measure if you have access to the supplies.
While you are taking the emergency measures, keep trying to find packaged baby formula though. It is made for the job, and though I don’t have the greatest trust in the system, I am optimistic that the competition has led to a reasonable product. Also, substitutes, though they may work for most people well enough, are kind of chaotic. There’s no way to know for certain that everything that needs to be there is in there. Batches vary too widely in products made for adults as opposed to infants.
Here’s a link to more information on getting through the shortage from WomensHealth.gov. They also recommend finding formulas made in other countries where the recipes may be a bit different, but they have actually resulted in thriving children.
Please be safe and well out there.
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