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• Babies fed formula made from similar combinations of ingredients have suffered cardiac arrest, rickets and other deficiencies, according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.
• Experts warn against making homemade formula and say consuming it can result in adverse health effects for infants. Homemade formula isn't safe and does not meet babies’ nutritional needs.
During the domestic shortage of baby formula, social media has been rife with recipes for homemade formula, which experts warn against. One Facebook post recommended a specific combination of ingredients that has caused dire health problems for infants.
"Don't let this formula shortage scare you!!! Make your baby some hemp milk w/sea moss," read the May 11 post. "It’s easy I promise!"
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Babies who were fed similar combinations of hemp and sea moss have suffered cardiac arrest, rickets and other deficiencies, according to a 2021 report by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.
The agency examined three cases from August 2020 through February 2021 when infants were treated in hospital emergency departments "for symptoms related to consumption of a nutritionally deficient homemade formula based on alkaline diet recipes," consisting of varying combinations of sea moss, hemp seeds, dates and coconut water. The recipes lack essential vitamins and micronutrients such as vitamin D, calcium and iodine, the CDC said.
The cases "highlight the potential for grave consequences" when making homemade baby formula, the CDC report said.
"Human breast milk and commercial infant formula contain vitamins and micronutrients essential for growth and development," according to the report. "Infants fed an alternative diet can develop severe deficiencies and experience long-lasting developmental consequences."
We rate the advice in this Facebook post False.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Notes from the Field: Vitamin D–Deficient Rickets and Severe Hypocalcemia in Infants Fed Homemade Alkaline Diet Formula — Three States, August 2020–February 2021," Aug. 20, 2021
Facebook post, May 11, 2022
PolitiFact, "Experts warn against homemade baby formula," May 13, 2022
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