Baby Formula Shortage: The Dos and Don’ts

What caused the baby formula shortage?

The shortage started late last year following supply chain issues and a formula plant temporarily shutting down. That led to 43% of all types of baby formula out of stock in early May. 

Months later, we’re still facing a major shortage. A recent report shows about 20% of formula was out stock in early August, and it may take another 2 months before things are back to normal.

The good news: If you’re having trouble getting your hands on formula, there are some tips and tricks you can use to get your infant the nutrition it needs. Hunter Health Pediatrician Dr. Conrado Agustin has a list of the “dos and don’ts” of the baby formula shortage.

The dos of the baby formula shortage

  • Try several different stores and websites, and check out social media. Many organizations, sites, and pages are offering information about where formula is available. But remember to only buy from trustworthy sites and sellers.
  • Be willing to try other formula brands if your child uses regular formula. Most are very similar in their production. If your child is on a specialized formula, check with your doctor on which brands to substitute.
  • If you get formula through WIC or a medical supply company, call them to see if they can help.

The don’ts of the baby formula shortage

  • Don’t dilute formula, give plant-based milks, make your own formula. Diluted and substitute formula may lack nutrition, and can be dangerous.
  • Don’t buy formula directly from other countries. These are not regulated by the FDA and may not be safe.
  • Don’t hoard formula if you find it. Other families are in the same boat you are. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends buying no more than a 10-to-14-day supply.

Temporary solutions during the formula shortage

If you’re still having trouble finding formula, or are waiting on a shipment, here are a few possible solutions.

  • Call your OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they have formula samples.
  • If your child is close to one year old, you could give them toddler formula or soy milk. But, only use brands fortified with protein and calcium.
  • If your baby is more than 6 months old, you can give whole dairy milk for no more than a week. If you do this, be sure there is plenty of iron in your baby’s diet, and talk to your doctor about giving an iron supplement.

Keep in mind, these solutions are only good for a few days.

Remember, Hunter Health is here to support new families in providing the proper nutrition to their infants. If you have any questions, or need help finding a solution to the formula shortage, give us a call at (316) 262-2415.

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