Feed infants safely during formula supply shortage
Infant formula is in short supply in the United States because of supply chain issues and an infant formula recall that shut down a manufacturing facility.
The situation has many families worried about how they’ll feed their babies, said Lyndi Buckingham-Schutt, assistant professor and food and health state extension specialist at Iowa State University.
“First, talk to your pediatrician about safe and appropriate feeding alternatives if you are unable to find a specific type of formula,” Buckingham-Schutt said. “In an emergency, switching to any available formula would be OK for most infants. However, make sure to ask your pediatrician about switching if your infant uses a specialty formula.”
Buy formula from trusted sources, Buckingham-Schutt continued. If the bigger stores don’t have the product you’re looking for, check smaller stores or drug stores in your area.
Do not buy formula that is individually sold from auction sites, or outside of the U.S.
“You also can use social media groups to help find places you can find formula in your area. Make sure to check any advice given on social media with your pediatrician,” Buckingham-Schutt said.
Buckingham-Schutt suggested additional steps parents and caregivers can take to make sure their infants have safe, age-appropriate and nutritious food.
- Do not water down formula or make homemade infant formula. It is not safe and could cause serious harm to your infant.
- Do not feed cow’s milk or other non-dairy milk to your baby until your child is 1 year old, unless you have talked to your child’s pediatrician.
- Do not panic-buy formula since buying in excess will only worsen the problem. Aim to have a 10-day to two-week supply of formula on hand.
- Follow food safety practices to prepare and store formula. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more food safety information.
- Clean, sanitize and store feeding items properly. The CDC gives tips on these practices.
For more tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website.