By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD
A recent update from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration
(FDA) provided information about infant formulas. Its title, “FDA
Advises Parents and Caregivers to Not Make or Feed Homemade Infant Formula to
Infants,” reminds us that babies should not be given homemade
formulas. Ideally, babies would be given only breast milk until they’re 6
months old, after which they would be started on solid food. If breast feeding,
or exclusive breast feeding, isn’t possible, commercial infant formula should
be used to replace or partially replace breast milk.
The FDA update
goes on to explain that they strictly regulate what can and can’t be in infant
formula. It’s very important that formula is nutritionally adequate because it
is the only food young formula-fed infants are given. FDA regulations also set
upper limits for nutrients so that the formula doesn’t supply excessive amounts
of nutrients which could also be harmful. The FDA does not evaluate homemade
infant formula recipes. These recipes could have inadequate or excessive
amounts of important nutrients. For example, the FDA has recently received
reports of hospitalized infants suffering from hypocalcemia (low calcium) who
had been fed homemade infant formula.
problem with homemade formulas is that they could be contaminated with bacteria
that could cause foodborne illnesses in young infants which could be
We recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. If that isn’t possible, infants should be given commercial infant formula or a combination of commercial infant formula and breast milk. Vegan families typically use commercial soy-based infant formulas if exclusive breast feeding isn’t possible. Homemade formulas or plant milks are not nutritionally adequate for babies and should not be used.
For more information about feeding vegan babies see: https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php