Breastfeeding taskforce

Breastfeeding may not be the best answer for everyone during formula shortage – The Nevada Independent

As a doctor and mother, my heart aches for parents worried about how to feed their babies amid the current shortage of infant formula.

Unfortunately, the shortage has erupted into talk about breastfeeding versus formula feeding, turning the issue into a game of shame and telling parents who fear they don’t have enough formula to “just breastfeed.” “. In reality, the focus should be on parents feeding their babies in whatever way they can and think is best, whether it’s breastfeeding, formula, or a combination of the two.

With only three manufacturers and a limited supply, it can be scary for a new mom or parent to think they might not be able to feed their babies, especially if they rely on a specific formula. Breastfeeding or switching to a new formula would seem like an obvious choice in the meantime, but several factors could prevent someone from pursuing these options, including the baby having an allergy that requires a specific type of formula or if the baby is unable to take breast milk. Additionally, the parent may not be able to breastfeed, may have limited milk supply, or may have a reason why they cannot pump. Additionally, some mothers have made the choice not to breastfeed, and for adoptive parents of a newborn, this is not an option.

All scenarios are acceptable; not all families are the same. This is why “just breastfeed” or “just use what you have” narratives may not work, not to mention how damaging this message could be to the psyche of a new or adoptive parent.

Respecting and understanding these dynamics is essential.

There are options and hope for parents who cannot breastfeed. Consult your pediatrician or family doctor for sample preparations available. You can also contact local hospitals, health departments, WIC, and other trusted agencies, as well as try to purchase the formula directly from the manufacturer. Parents can also work with their pediatrician to safely explore switching to a formula that is currently in stock and the baby can tolerate.

What to avoid

It’s a scary situation to think about how you’re going to feed your child when you’re down to your last supply items. Here are some things to keep in mind and avoid during these difficult times.

Although it may be tempting to purchase infant formula from a third party, it is important to use formula from a verified manufacturer or trusted source such as a pediatrician, hospital, or health care facility. health. Third-party providers may be unregulated and you run the risk of not getting what you thought you were getting for your baby.

Also, don’t try to ration formula, make your own formula, or dilute it with water or any other substance. This can be harmful, decrease the baby’s ability to absorb needed nutrients and increase irritability. Too much water can also cause serious damage, which is why formula is vital. It provides the right amount of nutrients – those that are appropriate for the digestive tract and that allow the baby to grow. Whole foods with undiluted infant formula are recommended. When you find that you are low on formula, contact a reliable source immediately.

Also, don’t try to give your baby solid foods or cow’s milk. Milk is not recommended for babies under one year old. Even after one year, a child’s milk intake should not exceed 48 oz. one day. Too much can make a child anemic, damage their colon, or lead to internal bleeding and other complications.

Take care of your mental health

As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month amid baby formula shortages, I encourage new moms and parents to take care of their mental health, too.

We live in unprecedented times and have experienced unabated high levels of stress and anxiety for three years – a global pandemic, wars, rising inflation and increasing violence are now adding to worries about how to feed your children.

Take the time to invest in your mental health and look for ways to help manage day-to-day stress. While it’s hard to imagine imagining help when you’re overwhelmed with worry and fear, it’s best to talk to a mental health professional you trust and know. trying to find small ways every day to take a mental break and reduce stress. Take a walk with or without a baby; keep a journal or say aloud the triggers that cause anxiety; and find things that bring you joy, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Also, during this time, try to be supportive of other parents and avoid shaming them or feeling ashamed whether you choose to breastfeed or use formula. In the end, we all just want to feed our children.

Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, MD, MS, is a board-certified family physician practicing in emergency medicine based in Reno, where she is Regional Clinical Director for Carbon Health and Medical Director for Saint Mary’s Medical Group . Dr. Curry-Winchell is a TEDx speaker and also a member of the Reno Mayor’s Task Force and Governors Medical Advisory Team on COVID-19.