GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The formula shortage is forcing some North Carolina parents to come up with different ways to feed their babies.

But pediatricians tell FOX8 that some of those alternatives could be deadly to children. The formula you buy at the store is mixed very precisely. Trying to recreate that at home would almost be impossible. Doctors are warning you should not feed your child homemade formula.

“Moms are really panicked right now about how to find formula,” said Lauren Mardeusz, a dietician.

Mardeusz is a mother and a registered dietician, focusing on pediatric and maternal health. She’s seen firsthand the empty shelves in stores once filled with formula.

“They’re going to the store. Formula’s not available,” she said. “They’re seeing on online groups how to make homemade formula, so they’re scared they’re not going to be able to feed their babies, which is valid.”

She and Kelly Black work in the same Greensboro office. Black is an international board-certified lactation consultant. She’s been busier since the formula shortage began.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase in pregnant moms wanting to breastfeed and learn more about breastfeeding,” Black said.

For those who don’t have the option to breastfeed, fear is driving them to take matters into their own hands.

“Homemade formula is not safe from any source,” Mardeusz said.

It can be deadly for a baby. Dr. Soren Johnson with Novant Health said infants’ kidneys can’t process salt like an adult’s kidneys can.

“Infant kidneys are not that robust…so pretty quickly you can get electrolyte abnormalities, meaning the salts or potassium or other things like that in the blood, and potentially that could make your brain swell and lead to death,” he said.

If the baby aisle in your local stores goes dry, parents wonder what they can do. Dr. Johnson said that depends on your child’s age. Babies ages nine months to one year can switch to cow’s milk in addition to iron-rich foods.

If your infant isn’t old enough to eat baby food yet, the solution is a bit trickier.

“We just keep working until we find a formula that we can provide or that you can put your hands on,” Johnson said.

Mardeusz has recommendations of where to check and what to look for.

“A lot of the powdered formula is sold out, so looking for ready to feed to bridge the gap,” she said. “Also call pediatricians’ offices for samples that they might get from manufacturers. Obgyn, midwife offices, they might have cans of formula available.”

If you’re still unable to get what you need, head to your local hospital.

“Don’t panic,” Mardeusz said. “There are ways to find formula. Go to a local hospital. They will have formula to feed your baby before feeding homemade formula.”

Many of the name-brand formulas are harder to come by. Mardeusz said you can use store brand. Most of those are very comparable to what your baby is used to. She recommended talking with your pediatrician before making any changes.