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Verify: No, you cannot substitute animal milk for baby formula

Your baby would not get the nutrients you need with that dangerous substitution

SAN ANTONIO — The baby formula crisis is ripping across the country. In south Texas the inventory is now below 50 percent of normal. So what can parents do and not do if they run out of formula?

THE QUESTION

Is it true that I can substitute goat milk for baby formula?

THE SOURCES

  • Rachel Jacob, a registered dietician in the neonatal intensive care unit at University Health System.
  • The Food and Drug Administration

THE ANSWER

This is true.

WHAT WE FOUND

Jacob said, "We do not recommend substituting cows milk or goat's milk or any other alternative. No other than infant formula. And the reason for that is, your cows milking your goat's milk have too many proteins for our babies kidneys to process."  

The FDA agrees but also says, "The FDA advises parents and caregivers not to make or feed homemade formula to infants. Homemade infant formula recipes have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant's growth."

Jacob says there are other options, including donor breast milk, and says you can switch brands. She told us, "It is it is safe for in most circumstances for babies to switch brands or even, types of formula within that same product line. And even if it's outside of different brands, along with being able to transition to some of the generic brands."

So no, it is not true. You cannot substitute any kind of animal milk for baby formula. 

Jacob also says to never dilute your formula because it can affect the nutrient composition that the baby needs, and to contact your pediatrician to see if they have samples of formula if you are running out, or if you have any questions or concerns. 

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