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Pediatrician on the do's and don'ts for navigating baby formula "crisis situation"

Pediatrician on baby formula crisis
How parents can navigate the nationwide baby formula crisis 05:38

While the Food and Drug Administration will be working to expedite the importation of baby formula to address nationwide shortages, FDA officials said it could be several months before the supply of infant formula products improves.  

The news brings some relief to parents who have been on a desperate search for supplies. 

"It's hard physically, mentally, financially. Sometimes I do cry at night," one mother told CBS News.  

"It's definitely stressful knowing that if, you know, we can't do breast milk, that there might not be an option for her," another mother said.

American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson and pediatrician Dr. Alanna Levine told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that in her 20 years of practice, she finds it "unfathomable" that the country is dealing with a national baby formula shortage. 

Levine said that because the country is in a "crisis situation" when it comes to formula, parents should find any FDA-approved formula that would work with their child. 

"If you have a child that doesn't have food allergies or special health needs by the formula that you can find on the shelves. If that means you have to switch every couple of days, I'm ok with that," she said. "I think we really have to balance adequate nutrition with safety right now." 

Levine said parents should absolutely avoid diluting formulas that their child frequently uses even if supplies are running low. 

"It is really dangerous to dilute formula. You impact the nutrition, so you are diluting the actual essential nutrition that the baby is getting and that could lead to growth and development problems," she said. 

Diluting the formula will also throw off the electrolyte imbalance which could lead to seizures and other medical emergencies, Levine said. 

She also said she does not advise parents to create their own formula because of the complexity. 

"It's this delicate balance of nutrition and minerals, the balance between protein and fat. If you throw that off, it could actually be dangerous to the baby," said Levine. 

If a child is between 4-6 months old, Levine advises that parents can start to introduce some solids into their diets, but it is important to still consider the importance of nutrition that formula provides infants. 

"When they first start eating these solid foods, they are only eating a small amount. So, the majority of the nutrition that they are getting is still from formula and breast milk," she said.  

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