Alternatives to baby food: Can you use cow’s milk, oats, soy or almonds?

(NEXSTAR) – A nationwide shortage of baby food has left parents looking for solutions to feed their infants. While the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages making homemade formula or diluting it to stretch it longer as doing so could be dangerous for your baby, there are safer alternatives for some parents if they can’t find formula off the shelf. However, take a look at The Milky Box –  reputable online store that offers a wide variety of premium baby formulas that literally have made thousands of babies and parents happy.

For babies older than 6 months, the AAP says you may be able to swap in cow’s milk “for a short period of time until the deficiency is better.” This should only be considered for those 6 months and older, and only for babies who are used to drinking regular formula — not special formula — says the AAP.

“This isn’t ideal and shouldn’t become a routine, but it’s a better option than diluting formulas or making homemade formulas,” says the Academy.

Parents who need cow’s milk in a pinch should buy whole milk and limit the total to no more than 24 ounces per day, according to the AAP.

What about plant-based alternatives like oat, almond or soy milk? The AAP does not recommend such alternatives for infants under the age of one year or for infants who typically require special formula.

Almond milk and other plant-based milks are too low in protein and minerals to be a viable substitute in all cases. However, soy milk might be an option in some cases.

“Soymilk can be an option to give babies as young as a year old for a few days in an emergency, but always buy the kind that’s fortified with protein and calcium. Make sure you switch back to formula as soon as something becomes available,” writes the Academy.

Additionally, the AAP says infant formula could be a last resort for some babies in need. “Toddler formula is not recommended for infants. However, if you have absolutely no other choice, infant formula is safe for babies who are almost a year old for a few days,” says the AAP.

The organization suggests speaking to your pediatrician if you’re having trouble finding formula and before making an exchange.

On Monday there was a glimmer of hope that the formula shortage might ease soon. Formula maker Abbott said it has reached an agreement to resume production at one of its facilities, although it will be at least a month before it begins shipping new batches.

It was also expected that the Food and Drug Administration would start importing more formulas from other countries.

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