Pediatrics

Baby formula shortage do's and dont's

Baby formula shortage

By Nuvance Health pediatric and women's health providers

5/17/2022

If you're struggling to find baby formula during the national shortage, Nuvance Health pediatricians, OB-GYNs and lactation counselors have some advice that may help.

  • When your local store is all out of your formula, check grocery stores and wholesale clubs, which don’t tend to sell out as quickly.

  • Ask your local stores what day of the week and time they receive deliveries, so you can shop early.

  • Use grocery shopping apps like Instacart to see what nearby stores have specific types of formulas. Baby formula companies also offer helpful tools such as Similac’s product locator and Enfamil’s store locator. However, keep in mind that these tools may not reflect actual, real-time inventories.

  • Because formula inventories are constantly changing, shop early and purchase a 10- to 14-day supply, but please do not buy in bulk, as there maybe another baby in more urgent need.

  • It’s OK to buy formula online from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies. Avoid auction sites.

  • You can switch brands of formula unless your baby is on a hypoallergenic type. Ask your pediatrician what they recommend for specialty formula alternatives.

  • Check social media. There are many local parenting groups with threads on where to find formula.

  • Don’t ever add extra water to formula in order to make it last longer.

  • The FDA advises you should never make your own baby formula.

  • Toddler formulas can be short-term (a few days) substitutes for baby formulas if your baby is older than six months and you have no other choice, the AAP states. Discuss this with your doctor.

  • Whole cow’s milk may be used in a pinch if your child is older than 6 months of age and your baby has no allergies or other special health needs. It’s not ideal but it’s better than diluting formula or making your own if used with a multivitamin with iron. Talk to your child’s doctor for suggestions on vitamins.

  • If you are supplementing with formula due to breastfeeding struggles, Nuvance Health lactation counselors are available to help.

The most important step you can take if you have questions about your baby’s nutrition is consulting with your doctor. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is taking steps to ramp up production, so these struggles should not last long.