Ask an Expert – Tips to Help Navigate the Infant Formula Shortage
Few things cause more stress for parents than the fear of not being able to provide for their child’s needs. The infant formula shortage, due to supply chain issues and a product recall, has left many parents feeling concerned about their options for safely feeding their infants.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service provides tips to help keep infants healthy:
- Do not feed your baby cow’s milk or other nondairy milk until your child is a year old unless your pediatrician approves it.
- Do not make homemade infant formula, as it can cause serious health and safety concerns, including a lack of nutrients vital to an infant’s growth.
- Do not buy formula online that comes from outside the United States. It could be counterfeit, have a fake label, or have a wrong use-by date.
- Prepare and store infant formula according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and do not water down formula.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for choosing an infant formula that is safe for your baby. Highlights include: Make sure the formula is not expired. Make sure the container is sealed and in good condition; if any leaks, puffy ends, or rust spots are visible, do not feed it to your baby. Make sure it is not labeled for toddlers.
- Talk to your pediatrician about introducing complementary foods by six months (no earlier than four months). Visit MyPlate to learn more.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for finding infant formula during the shortage:
- Check with your pediatrician, who may have formula samples in stock, connections to other local organizations, or suggestions on other places to call, such as your local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic.
- Check smaller stores and drug stores, as they may not be out of supply as quickly as larger stores.
- If you can, buy formula online until store shortages ease. Purchase from well-recognized distributors, grocers, and pharmacies rather than individually sold or auction sites.
- Check social media groups dedicated to infant feeding and formula. Group members may have suggestions on where to find it, but make sure to check with your pediatrician before taking any advice.
Remember – only medical professionals are qualified to provide advice on acceptable alternatives to formulas. Talk with your pediatrician about safe and appropriate feeding options for your infant.