Infographics: Emergency alternatives to formula

I’m afraid I have to admit – the novel I’m working on seems to be draining all of my creative energy. It’s like my brain switched tracks, and now it can’t think about nonfiction. It’s taken me a while to get into a groove with the blog, and now this novel just slammed into my brain out of nowhere. I think I was as ready for that as I was ever going to be, but it means that I’ve got to figure out a new way to go about things. Hopefully I’ll get that dealt with sooner rather than later, but for now I think this is useful information for people to have, in light of the U.S. baby formula shortage

EDIT 20/05/2022: Hey, so problems with the content I posted here arose, and the person whose material I linked here has given an update. In hindsight, ignoring the red flags that Katydid mentions in the comments was a mistake, and I’ll try to do better next time.

I just realized both op and the commenter are insane trad christains so im deleting my reblog (because im not platforming their shit – this is ALSO why im censoring their URLs I’m not going to give them traffic) and instead reposing it with the following links/information:

1) The WHO still actively hosts a guide on how to create safe milk substitutes when access to breastmilk/milk substitutes are unavailable on the Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (iris). The guide is called “Infant Feeding in Emergencies: A Guide for Mothers”. Relevant information starts on page 38.

2) Here is a link to the archived guide WITH THE CAUTION that I was not able to find out why its no longer provided by the WHO or iris. It could be that the information is out of date. I am only sharing it because I think the visuals may be helpful for people who have trouble reading written directions. Consult the above link first, then refer to this guide only if you need clarification on how to perform certain actions. Link to archive.

3) The language in that second comment throws up so may red flags. I cropped it to only the information needed to understand the context of this post because I find it immensely suspect. The repeated allusions to 2020 for no apparent reason (but I can guess why, as an infection disease scientist) come across as loaded or dog-whistely. I would advise against sharing the OP for that reason. But because the information being provided is important and not well known, I’m making this alternative post for people to reblog.

4) The implication that the WHO is censoring information based on a 404 page is a really flimsy and extreme conclusion to jump to. The “Infant Feeding in Emergencies” guide I linked above also goes to a 404 page on the WHO’s main website – but again, can be accessed through iris instead. So no, the information on how to feed infants in a food crisis is not being censored by the WHO.

5) A more likely cause for the guide disappearing is that the link broke and they didn’t fix it. If you look at the original URL it indicates the guide was posted in a subcategory on the WHO’s website about International Crises, specifically in the Middle East. If you try to type in a shortened versions of that URL (specifically or the slightly modified you’ll see that the subdomain that was present with relevant info breaks around 2020. In fact, while testing this hypothesis, I came across this information page in a November 2021 version of the URL (which I was redirected to automatically from

The image is an error page that reads as follows: We have revamped our website. In 2020, our web migration project tackled over 180,000 pages of content and over 200,000 publications. Much of our content has been updated, made more dynamic, and may no longer be found in the same place. If you are having problems finding content, please try: -search for publications in our new Publications Hub - find content in Health Topics - Look for content in Teams - Find Disease Outbreak News in our new emergencies section - Brows by Initiatives - Look through WHO Activities - Sort by

There is no nefarious conspiracy theory. The link simply broke – as many many many many links do on the internet. The second commenters reply is proven bunk by a little bit of fact checking.

sorry for the long post, but I think the information on infant nutrition substitutes is genuinely useful, lifesaving info – but i’m not going to give more people with dangerous ideological views spouting nonsense a platform.

So yeah. Sorry about that, but hopefully the information this page now contains will be useful!


  1. Katydid says

    “Pro-life liberty”?!?!? You mean, like the 192 Republicans who voted against easing the baby formula shortage?

    This topic is really pressing my buttons. Once again, I’m astounded that “get the gummit out of biznezz” Republicans are now screaming that the gov’t needs to pressure business.

    I’m also aghast at the “mommier-than-thous” and the men who are crowing, “See? Women should be breastfeeding!” This ignores the women whose bodies simply can’t (more than you would think–that’s one reason for the sky-high child mortality in earlier eras). Then there are the babies who simply can’t thrive on breastmilk; according to the news, there have been at least two deaths from infants who needed a specially-created formula to address specific needs, and that formula is no longer available.

    I know from my own baby-raising era that milk from cows is too high in some nutrients and lacking in others that human babies need. For a baby old enough to be eating some solids, this is not a crisis. I believe milk from goats is most similar to human needs, but not quite right. Therefore, homemade milk-and-water formulas are adequate for a crisis situation, but not idea for longterm growth and health.

  2. says

    I’m 100% in agreement here. I don’t know anything about that particular person, just that this seemed like a good resource given how many people can’t breast feed. I think your suspicion is justified.

    It sometimes feels like the common thread in conservative thought is what harms the most people.

    I saw one person say that donkey milk was a good alternative, and had to bite my tongue to keep from responding to such obvious bullshit.

  3. xohjoh2n says

    I saw one person say that donkey milk was a good alternative, and had to bite my tongue to keep from responding to such obvious bullshit.

    Why is it obvious that it’s bullshit?

  4. Jazzlet says

    @ xohjoh2n says
    Can you buy donkey milk at your local store? I’ve never seen it in any of the shops in any of the places I’ve livied or visited.

  5. anat says

    For what it’s worth, though my mother started breastfeeding me, she got poor advice (was told to put me on a 2 hour schedule from day 1 and supplement if that wasn’t enough) that caused her supply to dwindle. There was no such thing as formula, or even powdered milk, in the small town where we lived. I grew up on diluted whole cow’s milk, and was at the median growth curve, according to my mother. (My mother’s first encounter with powdered milk was when I was more than a year old and a relative sent her some from the US). The big issue with homemade formula is getting the dilutions correct. Other issues are lack of various supplements that are now added to commercial formula (but were not added to older versions, on which many people alive today were raised).

  6. says

    @xohjoh2n – Jazzlet’s on the money. Whether or not donkey milk is good in theory is as meaningless as whether or not formula is good, if you can’t get either.

  7. Katydid says

    Agreed, telling people in the USA to drink donkey milk is ridiculous because unless the family owns a female donkey that has been bred and is producing milk, then it’s just not easy to get. In the USA, there are simply not that many donkeys around.

    Right now as I’m writing this, there’s a news story about children with PKU (a genetic disorder in which the body can’t rid itself of certain things and can lead to brain damage, intellectual disabilities, behavioral symptoms, or seizures. Protein has to be carefully rationed, so “just drink cow’s milk!” won’t help these children. Breastfeeding wouldn’t help, either. Apparently the Republicans are fine with that. “Pro-life” is not what they are.

    Sorry, Abe, I was not attacking you for including the quote from “Pro-life pro-liberty”. Names like that are dog-whistles, and it’s important to realize they’re out there and saying this horrible stuff. Another dog whistle is “establishment”.

  8. brightmoon says

    I couldn’t breastfeed . But that was because the hospital gave me a shot that dried up my milk without even asking me if I wanted to or not ( I didn’t) otherwise I would have been really pissed instead of just annoyed at the gall! . That was 40 + years ago . When doctors did whatever they wanted to women without asking . That whole don’t-worry-your-pretty-lil-head-about-it attitude was and is infuriating)

  9. Katydid says

    @brightmoon; in the past decade or so, many hospitals have switched to breastfeed uber alles. There was even a notorious commercial on tv showing a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bill, saying that feeding a child formula was the equivalent in recklessness as riding a mechanical bull while 9 months pregnant. This was an aggression toward women who wanted to breastfeed and couldn’t for any one of endless reasons.

    The pendulum swings back and forth, but your message stands; other people are deciding for pregnant women what they will do with their bodies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *