Five COVID-19 Infant Feeding Facts Every Parents Needs to Know
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many parents and caregivers are home and may have questions about how they will feed their families, particularly their new infants. With incorrect information regarding infant formula and other infant feeding methods being circulated online and on social channels, the Infant Nutrition Council of America put together these five facts to keep your baby healthy.
1. Infant Formula Manufacturers are Maintaining Production & Supply
Members of the Infant Nutrition Council of America want to reassure parents and caregivers that there is infant formula available to meet their needs. Manufacturers have increased production, and are working with retailers and government agencies to help ensure availability and continued access to infant formula. Parents and caregivers should communicate with their infant’s pediatrician if they have questions about infant feeding methods, especially if they are considering a major change in their infant’s nutrition routine.
2. Do Not Stockpile Infant Formula
There is no shortage in the supply of infant formula coming from manufacturers. There have, however, been reports of an increase in demand in certain areas, and—in some locations—limits on purchases. In order to help ensure all parents and caregivers are able to obtain the formula they need, please avoid unnecessary stockpiling.
3. WIC Benefits Are Specific to Certain Types of Infant Formula
Parents and caregivers should be aware that WIC benefits are specific to certain types of infant formula. Formula companies are committed to ensuring continued availability of infant formulas for every baby; including WIC approved infant formulas. If you do not see WIC approved formula on shelves at your retailer, speak to the store manager.
4. Only Purchase Infant Formula from Reputable Retailers
Infantformula can be safely purchased from reputable retailers, either in their brick and mortar stores or through their official website, as well as directly from the manufacturer.
5. Practice Safe Bottle Preparation & Be Aware of Unsafe Feeding Practices
- Practice Safe Bottle Preparation, Cleaning, and Storage: Whether you use formula or expressed breast milk in bottles, there are basic bottle safety rules to follow. To start, always wash your hands before and after feeding. If you use formula, make sure to read the preparation directions and mix it correctly. Never use a microwave to warm bottles; instead put them in warm water on top of the stove. Visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for infant formula preparation and storage information and infantnutrition.org for a thorough checklist of all the steps you should take when preparing bottles.
- Do Not Dilute Infant Formula: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advise that diluted formula will not provide adequate nutrition and, if fed for an extended period of time, may result in slower growth and risk of malnutrition. Additionally, the AAP warns that excessive water consumption could result in water intoxication, which can cause seizures and even death in infants. Families should follow proper mixing instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Do Not Make Homemade Formula: The FDA strongly recommends against making and feeding homemade infant formula. There is evidence that homemade infant formulas, which can contain raw, unpasteurized cow, goat, or sheep milk, can lead to life-threating bacterial infections, especially in infants. Additionally, homemade infant formula may lack appropriate levels of nutrients needed to support healthy infant growth and brain development. In some cases, catchup growth and development for these deficiencies is not possible. U.S. government agencies and healthcare organizations only recommend breast milk and/or commercial infant formula for feeding young infants.
- Do Not Feed Cow’s Milk to Infants: Cow’s milk is not appropriate for children under the age of one year, as they cannot digest cow’s milk as easily as breast milk or infant formula. Additionally, iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional problem in infants, and cow’s milk does not provide a sufficient amount of iron to meet a baby’s needs.
- Do Not Share Breastmilk: According to the FDA, babies fed human milk from a source other than their own mother could be exposed to infectious diseases (including HIV), to chemical contaminants (such as some illegal drugs), and some prescription drugs if the donor has not been adequately screened.