Babies hospitalized at Children's Wisconsin over formula issues

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Families that have been using grandma's formula recopies might wind up taking their baby to the hospital, according to officials at Children's Wisconsin.

Nutritionists at Children's Wisconsin say they've had sick babies admitted after their parents tried subbing out their formula for something different to try and get through the formula shortage, and other babies have been admitted due to losing weight as their parents struggle to find formula.

They say avoiding homemade formula recipes found online, as well as plant-based milks, is critical.

Nutritionists said there are cases when things can be subbed in, but that isn't a decision you should make on your own without all the information.

"They're looking for anything they can to feed their kids but sometimes the substitutions that families are making are actually causing harm to kids. We've seen people come to our ED, our emergency room, or had to get admitted because of those substitutions," said Children's Wisconsin Clinical Nutrition Manager Jenny Crouse.

She said those sorts of changes in your baby's diet are ones that should be made with your pediatrician. As for some babies, there are alternatives that are safe.

"[Like for older babies that are] eating other kinds of foods that are meeting some of their nutrient needs, there's so many factors and variables that really a pediatrician who knows your child best can tell you what's safe and what's not," Crouse said. 

Crouse said if you need help finding baby formula to call 211, they can give you information on food pantries that could have the formula you need.

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