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Baby Formula Shortage: Tips and advice on what to do

By Erin Fletcher, DO
Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Beebe Healthcare
Pediatrician at Beacon Pediatrics

Given supply chain issues and formula recalls, it may be getting harder and harder for you to find the formula your child needs.

If you are unable to find formula at your regular supplier try these alternatives:

• Pharmacies, smaller grocery stores, large convenience stores, food banks
• Call your local WIC office (supplemental nutrition for women, infants, and children)
• Order online (but only from reputable sources)
• Call your pediatrician office to see if they have samples available
• Check with other parents, through local Mom’s groups or social media, to see if they have unopened formula they no longer need. Never use anything that has been opened by someone else or is expired.
• Most infants are on cow’s milk formula and can usually switch to a similar product without any concerns.
If your pediatrician or a GI specialist suggested a specific formula for your child, please contact them before switching.

Do not:

• Never water down the formula. Always make as directed by the manufacturer or your pediatrician.
• Do not make your own formula at home.
• Do not use toddler formulas if your child is under one year of age. They do not have the same nutrients.
• Do not use animal milk or plant milk (cow, goat, almond, soy, etc). Infant digestive tracts are not ready for these and they do not have the necessary nutrients.

Please do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician’s office with questions about how to best feed your baby.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also offers a Formula Fact Sheet with a list of manufacturer hotlines, community resources, and more.