COLORADO SPRINGS — The baby formula shortage is continuing to hurt and challenge families with infants across the country, including here in Colorado Springs.

From recalls to plant shut-downs to supply chain issues, doctors said it’s been the perfect storm to keep families with infants scrambling.

“Formula has been in a shortage for the last several months,” said Dr. Robert Underhill, pediatrician and Optum Colorado Springs associate medical director. “They’re making significant moves to catch up on everything, but it’s going to take time.”

Dr. Robert Underhill talks about ways families can navigate the formula shortage.

Until that time, Optum Colorado Springs Pediatrics is offering tips to navigate this shortage.

“Formula is very carefully made and managed by the FDA. And so it’s, it’s dangerous to go different than that in terms of making your own formula or watering down formula,” Dr. Underhill warned.

He said this can lead to electrolyte imbalances and more serious medical conditions.

“It can be very devastating to babies. Their kidneys and GI tracts are just not able to handle varying differences in those mixtures of things.”

Some mothers have turned to other alternatives, and Dr. Underhill cautioned against using goat milk.

“I apparently had to have goat’s milk when I was a baby and here I am. [But] It’s not recommended as top of the line.”

While goat’s milk isn’t officially recommended, cow’s milk might be a safe bet short-term.

“Kids that are older, from six to nine months all the way up until their birthday… it’s probably okay temporarily for them to be on cow’s milk.”

But, as long as a child doesn’t have special medical needs, experts said whatever baby formula you can get your hands on should be acceptable.

However, if they do have medical needs, that’s a bit trickier.

Donor milk from the right source can be another option that’s very safe for kids.

“We’ve tried to help our patients, as do other doctors offices, to try and help those families find appropriate formulas for their babies,” Dr. Underhill said. “But that’s been the biggest challenge.”

Another option that’s pediatrician-approved is donor breast milk.

“As long as it’s carefully analyzed and… screened, it’s very safe for babies.”

The Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs has been facilitating breast milk donations. Another place to check out: Mother’s Milk Bank of Colorado.