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Doctor details dangers of baby formula shortage

Dr. Philip Heavner, a pediatrician at Guthrie Clinic, warns of the dangers that will come with the baby formula shortage.

SAYRE, Pa. — As the nationwide baby formula shortage continues, the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre is monitoring the situation. The hospital system held a news conference Monday to discuss the shortage.

"I do think this is going to be an issue for a little while, but for how long is impossible to say," said Dr. Philip Heavner of Guthrie Clinic.

There are a number of factors causing the shortage, the most notable being Abbott nutrition shutting down a baby formula plant due to contamination concerns. The company accounts for 40 percent of baby formula production in the country.

"Supposedly had some quality issues that were traced to a factory in Michigan, and that factory stopped producing that formula and some other formulas as a result of an investigation," added Dr. Heavner.

Dr. Heavner says families are resorting to diluting formula with water to make the product last longer. He says this can pose severe health risks to your baby.

"They are getting too much free water because you watered down the formula or tried to stretch it a little bit, their sodium level in their bloodstream can change to where it sets them up for seizures."

Dr. Heavner says parents should also be flexible with baby formula brands when shopping.

"Families tend to get very brand loyal with formulas, but from a medical standpoint, substituting another full-term formula is a good way to bridge the gap until the formula they are used to becomes available again."

As more families get desperate for formula, some are even making their own from scratch, another method Dr. Heavner warns is dangerous for babies.

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