GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local pediatric dietitian is warning parents about the dangers of diluting formula by adding extra water or making it homemade.

“This can be very, very risky, altering the nutritional value of your product,” said pediatric dietitian Katie Boss from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “Causing electrolyte abnormalities, causing imbalances of vital nutrients and in severe cases, can lead to death.”

She’s urging parents not to trust social media, referring to homemade formula recipes being shared on Facebook and other platforms.

“It has made my life, as a pediatric dietitian, very much so complicated,” she said. “Just even to communicate to these parents that my message is correct and that what they’re seeing out there is actually harmful to their child.”

While a few states have reported infant hospitalizations due to the formula shortage, Boss said Helen Devos hasn’t seen any patients for that reason.

For parents struggling to find their baby’s formula, Boss recommends off-brand formulas or swapping for a different type or brand.

For infants with special dietary needs, she advises parents to contact their pediatrician.

She’s also calling attention to new guidance released by the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding the use of cow’s milk as a last resort.

“The American Academy of pediatrics has come out and said if your child is greater than six months of age, it’s ok to use a cow’s milk product for a few days until you find some infant formula. But like I said, this is just for six months and older,” Boss said.

Boss also advised that you only need 10 to 14 days worth of formula in your home. She says expecting parents whose child has not been born yet should not buy formula.