A bottle filled with baby formula

What to do if you run out

The shortage of infant formula is currently affecting the United States. But what should parents do if they run out and can no longer find their favorite product?

The shortage has persisted for the past two years, but it has worsened in the past few weeks, said Dr. Stephen Abrams, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Dell School of Medicine at Austin. Newsweekdescribing the problems as “very serious”.

The shortage is due to supply chain issues and the recall of several contaminated infant formula.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it is taking steps to improve the supply of infant formula. But if you’re struggling to find infant formula and need it urgently, here are some tips from the experts on what you can do.

For formula-fed babies – the vast majority – there’s often still “the ability to find some alternatives, although it’s difficult and getting harder,” depending on your location, Abrams said.

“We encourage families to be flexible in choosing a formula and look for the best they can,” Abrams said.

A stock image showing a bottle filled with infant formula. The shortage of infant formula is currently affecting the United States.

It is perfectly fine for most infants to switch to any formula available, unless your child is on a particular high hydrolysis or amino acid based formula.

Dr. Christopher Duggan, director of the Nutrition Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said this. Newsweek: “Online stores, local charities, doctors’ offices, and local WIC programs (for women, babies, and children) can be a source of infant formula.”

If parents are in need or have any concerns, they should talk to a local pediatrician, said Dr. Katie Lockwood, primary care pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Newsweek.

“Some pediatric departments may have samples of infant formula or local resources for finding formula, including advice from other families,” she said. “They can also give advice on changing the mixture to something similar that is easier to find. Sometimes small shops, like family pharmacies or grocers, have the mixture in stock when large retailers don’t.”

Can I dilute infant formula with water to stretch my supplies?

According to Lockwood, it is “very unsafe” to dilute the mixture in an attempt to make the most of limited supplies.

“Formula is made with a precise balance of ingredients, including electrolytes and minerals, which can be dangerous for babies when changed. We see cases of babies with low sodium and iron or excess water, which can be dangerous for the heart, kidneys, brain of babies. and other authorities,” she said.

Can people create their own formula?

All experts Newsweek also urged parents not to try to make their own formulas.

“Formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be made specifically for the needs of the developing infant and are very difficult to recreate at home,” Lockwood said. “Families should not make their own formulas because it increases the risk of infection and malnutrition for their babies. Homemade formulas often don’t contain the right types of nutrients that babies need for their developing organs and growing bones.”

Is cow’s milk a safe alternative to infant formula? Are there other potential alternatives?

According to Lockwood, cow’s milk is not recommended for babies under one year old.

“However, if your baby is nearly a year old, your pediatrician may suggest using cow’s milk during formula shortages. But I would discuss this with your pediatrician before use,” she said.

“Baby formula is also not generally recommended for babies under one year of age, but may be used for infants around one year of age if formula is lacking. Again, this should only be done after consulting a pediatrician.”

Abrams, meanwhile, said infants older than six months can get whole cow’s milk for a short period of time if all other options are not available, though iron supplementation may be needed in those cases. You can talk to your pediatrician about this.

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that people buy no more than a 10-day or 2-week supply of formula to reduce shortages.

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