For babies dependent on infant formula, finding empty shelves in local stores creates anxious moments for parents. Let’s find out how to navigate the baby formula shortage safely.
What Can You Do?
If you find your local area retailers out of baby formula, consider your options.
Search out other options. Check drug stores and smaller retailers that may still have some on the shelves.
Rely on generic brands. These are fully regulated and just as nutrient-rich as the name brands you have been purchasing. For example, if you normally buy the Target brand, it will be the same as Walmart.
Check online availability of formula at the large box stores or pharmacies. They get shipments in, but they can be gone quickly. Keep checking and have it shipped. Keep in mind that many suppliers are limiting amounts.
If your baby is on specialized (for example allergy) formula, check with Elmwood Pediatric Group if a specialty formula alternative will be safe.
Check social media groups for other sources.
What NOT To Do
Do NOT purchase formulas from foreign entities. However, the FDA is speeding up regulation to be able to safely import appropriate formula, and FDA approved foreign imports are safe.
Do NOT water down the formula to try and make it last longer. This can be dangerous and cause nutritional imbalances in your child.
Do NOT try to make your own formula.
Do NOT use cow’s milk as an alternative with two caveats: use it for only a few days if absolutely necessary and only if your child is closer to a year old. While using cow’s milk, supplement their diet with iron-enriching foods or they could become anemic. Your pediatrician may give you an iron supplement.
Do NOT use almond milk or other plant kinds of milk as they are low in protein and minerals.
Do NOT use a toddler’s formula for an infant, unless the infant is close to one year of age and this is for a short time Premature baby formulas can be used for a short term in an emergency.
Infants have very specific nutritional needs so don’t hesitate to contact Elmwood Pediatric Group with questions if you are having trouble finding formula.
Some other resources:
- Contact Women, Infants, and Children (signupwic.com)
- Find Your Local Food Bank | Feeding America
- Locate your nearest Community Action Agency (CAA). Your neighborhood CAA may be able to provide you with formulas or connect you with local agencies that have formulas in stock.