A formula shortage is terrifying and as we face this shortage, parents are rightfully concerned. No matter how you feed your baby (formula, combo of formula/breastmilk, or breastmilk), you should have the ability to provide your baby with the food that they need. If you are using a formula to feed your baby during this formula shortage, here are some do’s and don’ts.
- Panic: there is a formula available—you may have to spend more time tracking it down.
- Buy more formula than your baby needs.
- Make your own formula: homemade formulas don’t have the correct balance of protein, carbs, and fats and are missing essential vitamins and minerals. There is also a much higher risk of contamination which could cause foodborne illness.
- Dilute formula: this also changes the balance of nutrients for baby.
- Feed baby plant-based milk: not recommended as it does not have all the nutrients that baby needs.
- Feed baby goat’s milk: does not have the correct balance of nutrients for baby.
- Talk to your pediatrician about changing to a different formula that may be easier to find.
- Talk to your pediatrician about the possibility of relactation to help provide some or all of babies nutrition from breastmilk (this takes time).
- Ask your pediatrician’s office if they have samples you can use until you can find a formula or an alternative method of nutrition.
- Contact WIC to find out what formula they may have or what resources they have to help you.
- Consider talking to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) about increasing your breastmilk supply or relactating to decrease the amount of formula that your baby needs.
- Seek donor breastmilk—a trusted family member, friend, or a properly screened donor.
- Feed baby cow milk: if baby is over 6 months old and eating some solid foods, you can offer cow’s milk short term, ensure that baby is eating foods high in iron.
- Toddler formula: if baby is close to a year old, this can be used short-term.
The formula factories that were shut down after the formula recall have now been given the approval to re-open. This process will take around two weeks, and it may take around six to eight weeks before we see more formula on the shelves.
Now, relactation is an option, and I can help you with the relactation process, but changing to breastfeeding from formula feeding is only something to consider as a mother’s physical and mental health is imperative and should be considered, as well. A mother’s physical and mental health should definitely be considered in decisions regarding mom and baby, and I’m here to help you make whatever decision you’re considering.
*Update* – As of June 4, 2022, the factory that was closed has now been reopened. They have stated that they will start by producing EleCare formula (a formula for infants with multiple allergies) and are hoping to have that on shelves by June 20. They will then produce their other formulas and hope to have them distributed six to eight weeks after that.
Know that there is still formula available and that there are other options available. Please reach out to me with any questions (email@example.com) or to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.