Safely Feeding Your Baby During the Formula Shortage
Over the last two years, we’ve seen supply shortages affect everything from toilet paper to groceries. Now we find ourselves in the middle of a serious baby formula shortage, with relief still a few weeks away.
What caused the formula shortage?
On top of pandemic supply chain issues, Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall and closed its Michigan plant in February, after reports of bacterial contamination. The FDA investigated and on May 16, reached an agreement with Abbott to reopen the facility once it meets food safety regulations.
But relief won’t be immediate. Abbott expects the plant to reopen in two weeks, with another six to eight weeks before formula hits store shelves.
What if I can’t find our regular baby formula?
For most babies, it’s okay to use any available formula. If you’re set on your regular brand, you might find it at smaller stores or online, but be careful to buy only from reputable retailers. If your baby needs a specialty formula, an alternative may exist. We have two resources below that offer substitutions for specific formulas.
Social media is also a great resource for connecting with other parents who may have insights into formula availability near you or unopened product to pass on.
Can I add extra water to baby formula?
No, never dilute baby formula to make it last longer. Adding more water can cause nutritional deficiencies and lead to serious health problems for your little one. Always follow the label instructions to prepare baby formula.
Can I make homemade baby formula?
Metropolitan Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advise against homemade formula. Homemade recipes are not safe and do not meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Please don’t risk it!
Can I use toddler formula temporarily?
Toddler formulas are not recommended for infants. That said, toddler formula is safe for a few days for babies who are at least nine months old. Return to baby formula as soon as you have the opportunity.
Can I substitute cow’s milk for formula?
If your baby is older than six months of age and on regular formula (not a specialty product), whole milk is okay for a few days. Follow the recommended amount for one year of age (up to 24 ounces per day) and offer iron-rich solids, too.
Goat’s milk and plant-based milks are not recommended for babies under one year of age.
We’re Here to Help
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or need guidance on safely feeding your baby. Our providers are working closely with Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank to connect medically fragile infants to donor breast milk. We can also request specialty formula products from Abbott for patients in need, including:
- Similac PM 60/40
- Calcilo XD
- Cyclinex-1 and Cyclinex-2
- Glutarex-1 and Glutarex-2
- Hominex-1 and Hominex-2
- I-Valex-1 and I-Valex-
- Ketonex-1 and Ketonex-2
- Phenex-1 and Phenex-2
- Propimex-1 and Propimex-2
- Tyrex-1 and Tyrex-2
Additionally, our board-certified lactation consultants offer virtual infant feeding support and safe in-person care at three Metro locations, including Bridgeport, NW Portland, and Happy Valley – Sunnyside. They are happy to answer more specific questions about breastfeeding (including reestablishing lactation), latch, milk supply, pumping, and formula-feeding.
- Navigating the US Formula Shortage: A Safe Approach (United States Lactation Consultant Association)
- Relactation: Starting Over with Breastfeeding (HealthyChildren.org)