Baby formula shortage: What parents need to know

In February, Abbott Nutrition closed one of its formula manufacturing plants due to a voluntary recall of several lines of its powdered formula following concerns about possible bacterial contamination. As one of the largest infant production facilities in the US, this facility being offline has caused the current supply shortages. While Abbott works to bring this important facility back online, other US-based manufacturers are working to increase production while the government is also working to source formula from other countries.

How is the U.S. working to quickly increase production and to ensure accessibility?

The U.S. normally produces 98% percent of the infant formula it consumes, and trading partners in Mexico, Chile, Ireland, and the Netherlands are key sources of imports. Given the production and distribution issues leading to local supply shortages of infant formula, the FDA will, in the coming days, announce specific new steps it is taking concerning importing certain infant formula products from abroad. To help further increase manufacturers’ ability to meet demand and distribute formula, the USDA is working with states to make it easier for vulnerable families to purchase the formula they need with their WIC benefits, including the ability to use their benefits on a wider variety of products. Since February, the FDA has worked with companies, calling on them to issue purchasing limits and to prohibit price gouging.

Formula shortage do’s and don’ts:

•Do not make your own baby formula.
•Do not try homemade formula recipes that you may find online.
•Do not feed your baby cow’s milk or goat’s milk until after one year of age.
•Do not dilute baby formula.
•Do try other types and brands of formula: for most babies, it’s okay to switch to any available formula, including in-store brands. If your baby is on a specialty formula, talk to your pediatrician about appropriate alternatives.
•Do reach out to your pediatrician for advice if you are worried or are having trouble finding formula.
•Do check with WIC Louisiana for the latest recall information and recommended substitutions:
visit louisianawic.org or call 504.568.8229.
•Do increase breast milk supply if you are partially breastfeeding or recently stopped breastfeeding. A certified lactation consultant can help you reestablish breastfeeding and offer tips to increase supply.

Click here to download our formula substitution guidelines