How To Navigate The Baby Formula Shortage

The recent baby formula shortage has caused much frustration and fear for parents nationwide. Fortunately, relief efforts are underway to address the supply-chain issues. In the meantime, we’re offering some helpful tips and resources from to guide you through this challenging time.

Do’s and Don’ts During A Baby-Formula Shortage

  1. Do not make your own formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against doing so, as the improper mix of the right nutrients can be highly detrimental to babies.
  2. Do not dilute the formula you have. This will create dangerous nutritional imbalances and can lead to more serious health problems.
  3. Do check with your pediatrician for tips, resources, and even formula samples.
  4. Do check smaller local stores, which may not be out of supply when the bigger stores are.
  5. Do buy formula online, but be sure to purchase from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies rather than individually sold or auction sites.
  6. Do check social media groups for tips on local inventory, but BE CAREFUL with local milk swaps and donations in these groups. Be aware that purchasing or accepting breast milk from a stranger can be dangerous, as that donor has not been screened for viruses, medications, or lifestyles/habits that could create a danger to your baby (such as substance abuse).
  7. Do recognize that formula for toddlers is not recommended for infants; however, if there are no other options available, babies who are near 1 year old can safely consumer toddler formula for a short time period – i.e., a few days. Similarly, if nothing else is available, full-term babies – for a few weeks – can safely consume formula made for babies born prematurely.
  8. Do avoid cow’s milk for newborns as it is not the same as formula! However, for children over 6 months, whole cow’s milk can be safe for a brief period of time. The most important concern with giving an infant over 6 months of age cow’s milk if you can’t find baby formula is making sure they get enough iron to prevent anemia. Be sure to include plenty of iron-containing solid foods in their diet or talk with your pediatrician about an iron supplement until you can find formula again.
  9. Do look into local and regional milk banks. We recommend focusing on those accredited through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), which ensures that universal guidelines for pasteurizing donor human milk are fulfilled. This ensures all donor milk has been screened and is safe for consumption. Find a Milk Bank in Your Region Here.

Hear from Lauren Beaven, MD, FACOG from Lexington Women’s Health on the issue:

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