If you’re a new parent, you’ve experienced the frustration and anxiety that’s resulted from the national baby formula shortage. Due to various factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis has resulted in more than 40% of top-selling formula brands being out of stock or recalled.
At Emulait, we understand how much this crisis negatively impacts families who rely on formula to feed their little ones. During these challenging times, we’d like to extend our support and guidance on how to deal with the baby formula shortage so you can get one step closer to finding solutions that work best for your family’s specific needs.
Let’s start with the main question everyone’s asking.
How do you find baby formula?
Don’t worry, If you’re struggling to find formula close to home, you still have options. There are a few ways you can narrow down your search to find what you’re looking for. Here’s what we recommend:
Order formula online from reputable sources only – If finding a place that’s accessible near or around you is not working, you can set your sights on searching online for formula. However, we advise that you be especially careful and knowledgeable about where you’re ordering formula from. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends sticking with only very reputable retailers and warns against shopping from secondhand or unknown sources. Rely on distributors you can trust.
Search in less populated areas – When your local shops are out of stock, we recommend going to less populated areas that may be outside of your typical search area. There might be a pharmacy or shop you would’ve otherwise overlooked with a higher supply of baby formula. It doesn’t hurt to see what’s out there.
Consult with your doctor – If the above options don’t work for you and you’re still not sure where to look for formula, it’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician. While many doctor’s offices have also run out of supplies during the baby formula shortage, they might be able to point you in the right direction. And, who knows? They might also have some extra formula in stock.
What not to do
While we covered what you can do to search for baby formula during the national shortage, it’s equally as important to go over what not to do during a crisis as well. When families are out of supplies and anxious, they often turn to problem-solving solutions or guidance from others. However, there is a lot of misinformation around this topic that can lead you astray. With that being said, we’re here to help you avoid the following common mistakes.
Making homemade formula – This is a big no-no. Although it might seem like an intelligent and cost-saving solution, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FDA, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) all h3ly advise against it for a few key reasons. Firstly, making your own formula can cause infection and/or negatively affect your little one’s immune system. One small mistake could lead to harmful bacteria with severe consequences. Furthermore, homemade formula simply doesn’t provide your baby with enough nutrients. It would be incredibly difficult to achieve the high amounts of protein and fat that a baby needs to keep up with their development.
Watering down formula – This option is not recommended for similar reasons listed above. Babies require significant amounts of protein and fat to develop healthily. Diluting their formula can cause an imbalance in the amount of fluid and nutrients they need.
Using milk alternatives (i.e. soy, goat, etc.) – If you’re running out of options, you might find yourself wondering if milk alternatives are a safe choice for your baby. Unfortunately, most doctors advise against this. Goat’s milk can have too much protein for your baby’s body to handle, which can lead to more urination and dehydration. Soy milk and cow’s milk can sometimes be used in short intervals but don’t provide enough protein for your baby to get the proper nutrition they need long-term.
Using toddler formula – Much like the above milk alternatives, toddler formula for babies under the age of one is not a sufficient source of nutrients in the long term.
Frequently asked questions about baby formula
How do I know if my baby is getting enough nutrients?
If you’re noticing any major changes in your baby’s weight, activity levels or overall disposition and you are concerned, it is always best to consult with your doctor immediately and request an evaluation if needed.
Can you mix different formula brands?This will depend on your baby’s specific dietary needs, so it’s always best to consult with your doctor first. However, using a small amount of multiple kinds of formula and mixing them to make your supplies last is typically recommended. See your doctor to discuss your baby’s needs and portion recommendations.
Resources for Parents
- Healthychildren.org – Run by the AAP to offer the latest updates on all infant/child-related news and formula shortage news.
- Call 211 – For families in need, the United Way’s hotline is your local connection to free and discounted formula, food banks, donations, and more.
Bigleyj. (2022, July 21). What should you do about the baby formula shortage? Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved August 21, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/baby-formula-shortage-solutions/ MacMillan, C. (2022, May 19).
Baby formula shortage: 8 tips for parents. Yale Medicine. Retrieved August 21, 2022, from https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/baby-formula-shortage
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provided for any medical advice, diagnoses, treatment, or health objectives.