Appointments with lactation consultants at Novant Health are surging as parents of newborns cope with a nationwide shortage of baby formula, with doctors and health officials saying getting good information is key to keeping babies healthy.

Don't water down infant formula to make it last longer. Don't buy formula from anyone but a reputable dealer. And do not try to make formula on your own. 

That's some of the advice recently shared by the state Department of Health and Human Services as parents try to navigate around an industry-wide shortage.

Dr. Catherine Ohmstede is a pediatrician and physician lead for Novant Health Children's Health Institute. She echos those concerns and adds that pressuring moms to breastfeed will likely do more harm than good.

“Breastfeeding is very much a mind-body connection,” she says. “And so putting the mother under the stress of feeling like she has to start lactating is really going to be self-defeating. The more stressed the mother is the less likely it is to be successful.”

Ohmstede urges parents of babies who are at least four months of age to begin introducing solid-food purees. 

She also encourages people to talk to their doctors about ways to boost milk production in new mothers and find other solutions to the formula shortage problem.

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