Going on three months since the infant formula shortage began, we are aware of the stress and concern this has caused families with young children. In recent days, President Biden invoked Defense Production Act, Nestle Nutrition ordered shipments of formula from other countries, and Abbott Nutrition has come to an agreement to restart production. While this is progress towards a resolution, today it is still extremely difficult to find formula. Furthermore, many of the recommendations found online are misleading or unsafe. We want to make sure you have access to accurate information regarding this situation.
What are the facts?
–Breastmilk or formula should be the primary source of nutrition for all infants ages 0-12 months. Complementary solid foods can be introduced around 6 months and can provide additional nutrition but should not replace breastmilk/formula. A variety of nutrient dense foods and textures can be offered between 6-12 months of age.
-Cow’s milk and Goat’s milk are not recommended to replace human breastmilk or formula due to the lower fat content and higher concentration of certain minerals. This could affect brain development and cause stress on baby’s functionally immature kidneys.
-Toddler formulas also contain lower concentrations of fat and higher concentrations of minerals. While some toddler formulas such as Nature’s Own Baby’s Only Formulas and Kabrita Goat’s Milk Formula may be suitable for infants, it is recommended to have an assessment done by a Registered Dietitian, especially if baby is taking concentrated formula or large volumes of formula.
-Homemade infant formulas are not recommended and have been linked to infant hospitalizations and deaths.
What can you do?
–Social Media may be the best way to find formula. Many posters have been offering extra formula or informally donating breastmilk. There are also some specific groups to unite families looking to find or donate formula.
-Grocery stores and smaller stores may have better supply than the big box stores.
-Many online forums are suggesting asking doctor offices, local food banks, or WIC offices for formula samples. Unfortunately, samples are not likely available at this time. Prescription formula ordered through a Pharmacy or DME/Home Health Company may be available. Check with your doctor to see if a prescription can be sent.
-Only offer your baby the amount of formula they typically will drink to limit formula waste.
-It is OK to substitute your regular formula with an alternate or generic brand. Look for a formula with similar ingredients.
-The American Academy of Pediatrics recently provided guidelines for using Whole Cow’s Milk in infants who are older than 6 months. This should be used on a short-term emergency basis only. Iron supplementation or increased intake of iron rich foods is recommended.
-If your child is over 12 months of age and taking formula to supplement nutrition intake, try offering nutrient dense foods or formula alternatives such as Carnation Breakfast Essentials, Orgain Kids, or homemade nutrient dense smoothies. Dairy free toddler formulas such as Kate Farms, Compleat Standard, Pediasure Harvest, and Orgain Kids Pea Protein are also available at this time.