What parents need to know and do about the baby formula shortage – Harvard Gazette


It’s terrifying to think of not being able to feed your baby – and right now, with the shortage of infant formula, parents across the country are feeling exactly that terror.

The infant formula supply chain had been tenuous for some time, but when Abbott Pharmaceuticals recalled many of its infant formulas – and closed its largest production plant in the United States – it literally caused a crisis. formulas. Many store shelves are empty of formula, and it’s not easy to find any online either. As formula makers and the government work to restore supplies, it may take some time before it’s easy to buy a box of formula. In the meantime, here are some do’s and don’ts for parents who use formula.

Which relatives should do during formula shortage

  • Try many different stores and websites. Most families already do this, but it’s worth saying.
  • Spread the word to your friends and family – the more people searching, the better.
  • Check social media. Many organizations, sites and pages offer information on where the formula is available.
  • Be prepared to buy brands other than your usual brand if your baby is using regular formula. It really doesn’t matter, they’re all remarkably similar.
  • If your baby is taking a specialized formula, check with your doctor to find out which brands can be substituted.
  • Buy only from reputable sites and sellers. You want to be sure what you are buying is the real thing.
  • If you get formula through WIC or a medical supply company, call them to see if they can help.
  • Call your doctor! This is particularly important if your child is on a specialist formula (in which case you absolutely must call them). But also call if you have questions about what to give your baby and how to find it.

In a pinch, here are some things you can do for a few days while you’re looking for formula. Please note: This does not apply if your baby is on a specialist formula or is under 6 months old!

If your baby is almost a year old (say, 10 months or more), you can give them formula or soy milk. (If using soy milk, only use protein- and calcium-fortified brands.) Do not give formula or soy milk to younger babies.

If your baby is over 6 months old, you can give whole cow’s milk. If you do this, make sure your baby’s diet contains enough iron and talk to your doctor about giving her an iron supplement.

Again, this should only be done for a few days.

To read what NOT to do…

This is an excerpt from an article that appears on the Harvard Health Publishing website.

Claire McCarthy is a faculty editor as Harvard Health Publishing, a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.


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