Baby Formula

Why It’s So Hard to Find Baby Formula in the U.S. Right Now, by Beverly Lackenbauer

In the past few months a number of factors have piled pressure on national and global supply chains. These include staff shortages due to COVID-19, increased demand for many products and services following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the war in Ukraine and related international sanctions, and shortages of some commodities. But the shortage of baby formula was exacerbated when Abbott—producer of top U.S. brand Similac—shut a major factory in Michigan and issued three product recalls in February over contamination concerns. According to the Food and Drug Administration, four babies fell sick, including two who died, after being fed formula produced in the factory. Read more: Can I make baby formula at home? When I was a baby, my mother never bought formula, she made it however, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration both caution parents against making their own baby formula. Homemade formulas can be dangerous from a nutritional standpoint, in that the formula might be lacking essential nutrients, but it can also contain the wrong amount of electrolytes, which can cause health problems. “Although recipes for homemade formulas circulating on the internet may seem healthy or less expensive, they are not safe and do not meet your baby’s nutritional needs,” the AAP said. “Infant deaths have been reported from use of some homemade formulas.” What to Do If You’re Running Low *Do Not water down cows milk or r water down the formula! It is very important not to try and substitute non-human milk (cows, nut, oat, goat, etc.) in place of infant formula as it lacks important nutrients for an infant’s physical and neurological development *Call your pediatrician to see if they have any in stock. Pediatricians often get samples of different formulas and may be able to help out. *Some charities or food assistance programs, such as the Women, Infants and Children nutrition assistance program have income requirements. However, given the shortage, some assistance programs may be more willing to expand eligibility, depending on the area or circumstance. *Check smaller stores instead of the big retailers (like your local “mom and pop” shop or drug store). *Social media groups dedicated to parenting may also have good resources for your area, and you may meet another parent with extra in stock. *Seek out donor breastmilk banks: The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, can help find a bank near you. You can also look through local listings for other accredited, nonprofit banks. ***You also shouldn’t buy baby formula from overseas, the AAP says, without knowing it’s been FDA-reviewed for nutrition and safety. The same goes for auction sites. Read more: It’s So Hard to Find Baby Formula in the U.S. Right Now