Written by Aparna Hari
Many mothers prefer to feed their babies with infant formula rather than breast milk. This is because they believe that this is more nutritious as compared to any other form of milk. You will be surprised to know that baby formula can also be formulated at home. Yes, you heard that right. You can prepare baby formula at home. But is homemade baby formula safe for your baby? And why will you need to make baby formula at home?
There may be many situations where you may need to prepare baby formula at home with high cost and scarcity of availability in the market being the most common reasons. Also, there are so many generic brands that are selling baby formula milk today, but you cannot rely upon them completely. They might be using preservatives and synthetics which might be dangerous for your baby. This is the reason why many people prefer to feed their infants with homemade baby formula.
In This Article
Baby formula milk is the main substitute for breast milk and is prepared using special dried milk powders. Most of the time, formula milk contains spray-dried cow’s milk and added nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Mothers mix the formula milk powder with boiled and cooled water and feed it to babies through their feeding bottles. Formula milk has many advantages. For mothers who can’t produce enough milk or can’t feed their babies, formula milk is a blessing. It has the closest composition to the mother’s milk and has vital nutrients that encourage the baby’s growth and development.
Cow milk cannot be given to babies unless they turn a year old. Formula milk excellently balances mother’s milk and also helps in an easier transition to solids since the baby is now used to a different taste profile apart from mother’s milk.
Although the main source of protein in formula milk is cow’s milk some formulas also have other sources rather than cow’s milk such as soybeans as well as rice. These substitutes are for babies who are allergic to components in cow’s milk or are lactose intolerant.
Formula is a nutritionally complete food for your infants. Baby formulas contain all the nutrients that a growing baby needs and are the nearest substitute for mother’s milk. They are easy to digest too. So how is formula different from mother’s milk?
One of the main benefits of breast milk is that it contains a wide range of antibodies which helps the baby to combat any kind of illness for a longer period. These antibodies are not present in the formula.
Furthermore, breast milk contains easily digestible proteins as compared with formula and hence this will help your baby stay healthy and reduce the risk of being overweight.
[Read : Breast Milk or Formula Milk]
Some mothers may wonder if babies can be fed with homemade baby formula. Store-bought baby formulas can be quite expensive and sometimes there may be formula shortages too which can force mothers to think of alternatives. So, can you make baby formula at home and is it safe?
Yes, it is possible to prepare formula milk at home, but you must avoid this at all costs. This is because it can be dangerous to feed your little munchkin with homemade formula milk as it can lead to life-threatening problems and other health hazards for your baby.
For one, homemade formula has a high risk of contamination and causing health issues to your baby. Store-bought formulas are manufactured under highly sterile conditions and go through multiple quality checks before getting packed. This is something you can not maintain when preparing formula at home.
In addition, homemade formula milk may not carry all the nutrients that a growing baby needs. This can create health and growth issues in the baby.
In short, homemade baby formula is not safe for babies. Unless you are not able to source formula due to shortages, it is not a very good idea to opt for homemade baby formula.
It is important to look for any possible risks associated with the usage of homemade baby formula. Have a look below:
When preparing formula at home, you must follow the highest level of hygiene, work in an absolutely sterile environment, and source the best quality materials for making the formula. If not, your baby may risk falling ill due to bacterial contamination and food poisoning.
Certain ingredients might not be safe for your babies. That is why doctors recommend buying ready-made formulas which go through multiple quality checks at various levels before reaching the shelves of your nearest grocery store or medical store.
Newborns and infants require a very specific diet containing nutrients. You cannot ensure this balance with homemade formula. Store-bought formula, on the other hand, are formulated scientifically to ensure proper balance of all the required nutrients.
Contamination at any level when preparing the formula right from purchasing the raw ingredients through feeding the milk to your baby can cause infection due to contamination. Some of these infections can be life-threatening too, especially with bacteria that are the source of severe food-borne illnesses.
If your baby can’t tolerate the ingredients you add to the formula, they may develop allergic reactions or side effects after drinking the formula milk.
[Read : Allergies in Babies]
Kidneys in the human body perform many useful functions such as the removal of waste products from the blood and regulating it. Babies still have immature kidneys. The ingredients of homemade formula milk increase the burden on the kidneys which leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances as a result of which your baby may fall sick.
All branded formula powders go through a thorough quality and safety check in labs before they get released into the market by the concerned Government-appointed certification organizations such as the FDA. This ensures complete safety for your baby who is consuming that formula milk. Homemade formula powders cannot go through these quality-check processes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued some guidelines for the safe preparation of formula milk at home. It is very important to boil the water at first before initiating preparing formula milk so that no minute hazardous particles reach out to your children via that.
Some guidelines you may follow while preparing infant formula at home!
It is a baby’s health and wellness we are talking about here. Though making formula at home may not be safe, you can resort to it under certain unavoidable conditions. The first step is to make sure that you choose the highest quality ingredients from trusted sources. Contaminated or low-quality ingredients may play havoc with your baby’s Health.
There are ample ingredients that you will use to prepare formula milk and hence it is very crucial to look for the expiration date of the ingredients so that your baby doesn’t land in any kind of difficulty. If the expiration date for any of the ingredients has passed, then it is better to throw that away to ensure that the formula is completely safe for consumption.
Whether it is your hands or utensils, ensure to sterilize everything properly. Even your countertops must be clean and tidy. The smallest source of contamination may lead to bad health if your baby drinks that formula.
Once you prepare the formula, ensure that you store it properly in a cool and dry place. Close the lids properly after every preparation to avoid cross-contamination.
[Read : Storing Formula Milk]
Storing homemade formula for too long can be a source of breeding contamination since you will not be adding any preservatives. Regular fresh batches is the way to go when preparing formula milk at home.
Homemade baby formula may not always be safe for babies but may be the only option when the proper formula is not available for various reasons. When preparing baby formula at home it is important to ensure complete safety and hygiene practices are followed to avoid any negative impact on your babies.
The temperature of the milk doesn’t have any significant effects on digestion. However, warm milk soothes your baby and helps them sleep better. It can also be quite comforting for your baby.
No, it is always suggested to use boiled and cooled water (room temperature) to make formula for your baby. Tap water can contain contaminants which can cause your baby to fall sick.
You should follow the instructions on the pack which will indicate the right mixing temperature. It is better to let the boiled water cool down a little before mixing the formula. Always ensure that you feed your baby lukewarm or room-temperature formula milk only. Hot milk can burn their mouth.
Read Also: Know Answers To All Your Questions On Infant Formula Feeds
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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