PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — It's scary to think about not being able to feed your baby. Right now, as we are facing a shortage of baby formula, families all over the country are feeling petrified.
The reason for the shortage of baby formula was a temporary shutdown of the plant in Michigan that manufactures roughly half of the U.S. supply. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers on Feb. 17 “not to use certain powdered infant formula products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis.” As a result of the warning, the plant voluntarily recalled its formula and shut down its plan, causing a nationwide shortage in baby formula.
For now, until the plant reopens, baby formula is still limited across the county. Officials from Prince William County provided a list of Dos and Don'ts to help parents and caregivers navigate the shortage while ensuring the best possible nutrition for their babies.
If formula is hard to find:
- Do check with social media support groups (via Facebook or Instagram) for help finding formula vendors, but check with your baby's healthcare provider before purchasing.
- Do check smaller markets and drug stores when the big box stores and supermarkets are out.
- Do purchase alternate or store-brand formulas if your baby is not on a restricted diet and has no major health problems.
- Do consider buying formula online if you can afford it. Only purchase from well-established distributors and pharmacies.
- Do check with your or your baby's physician or healthcare provider for any questions, especially if your baby has any medical conditions or a restricted diet.
- Do contact WIC office or your local health department for their suggestions for your community. Go to Local Health Districts and click on part of the map that contains your location, or call locally.
- Do call ahead to nearby stores to find the ones that have formula before you travel.
- Do purchase only a 10-14 day supply each of formula for your regular shopping trips. It appears unlikely that the supply is going to run out, and hoarding will only make shortages worse.
- Don't dilute or water down your existing formula as your baby will not get adequate nutrition.
- Don't buy formula online from private vendors or auctions. You won't know what you're actually getting, and there is little or not control over pricing.
- Don't feed your baby any plant-based milks as they block many key nutrients.
- Don't purchase formula from foreign or overseas locations. These products will not be FDA cleared, and many contain contaminants or ingredients inappropriate for your baby.
- Don't feed homemade formula from a recipe. Even if only safe ingredients are used, these formulas will not provide adequate nutrition.
- If you are still pregnant but will deliver soon, please give extra consideration to breastfeeding. Most woman can breastfeed, and you are likely to avoid formula shortage together. For more information, see Breastfeeding, or CDC Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or Virginia Breastfeeding Coalition.
- If your baby is 6 to 12 months of age and has no health or dietary problems, you may feed your baby cow's milk for short periods until you can obtain proper formula. This recommendation is for urgent situations only and should not be done for a prolonged period.
Other helpful sites:
If you have any questions, make sure to contact your baby's healthcare provider with any questions.