While breast is best, it’s not always an option for every baby. Formula is the most popular choice for parents who aren’t breastfeeding, but many other are seeking more natural options. With the increasing flow of information on the internet comes a lot of third party advice. Concerned, Health Canada is warning parents about the dangers of making their own baby formula.
Health Canada, in partnership with the Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society, issued a warning Wednesday following a jump in recipes that are being promoted online and in workshops.
Those recipes, which parents make at home, often contain protein powders, oil, milk or plant-based beverages. Health Canada says their first concern is that the combination doesn’t provide babies with the correct balance of nutrients they need, which can lead to severe malnutrition and potentially fatal illnesses in infants.
The other concern is bacteria, which can be introduced through raw ingredients or during handling.
“To me, in a fairly extensive chain of mixing, there’s so much opportunity to introduce bacteria that might make a baby ill,” Gerry Kasten, a public health dietitian with Vancouver Coastal Health told 24hours Vancouver.
While commercial formula sits fourth on the list of VCH’s ways to feed your baby — following breastfeeding, breast milk fed through a bottle and pasteurized human donor milk — the products are strictly regulated to be safe, Kasten said.
“Commercial infant formula is quite possibly the most regulated food in Canada,” he said.
Ovio Organics offers parents a homemade baby formula kit that includes ingredients such as Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Vitamin Butter Oil and Acerola Powder. The problem with this recipe is that it also calls for whole raw cow’s milk, which is not permitted in Canada.
“It’s great because it’s fresh. We tell parents to make a fresh batch every day. It’s not sitting in your fridge getting old… It takes four minutes to make it.”
The only health concern her company is wary of is raw milk, which is not permitted in Canada. Otherwise, homemade formula with the right ingredients is a viable alternative for parents who want something organic for their babies, Amanda also noted.
Gerry Kasten points out the issue with this,
“When formula is the only source of food your baby receives, the potential for malnutrition – either too few or too many micronutrients – is high.”