HOW TO GET THROUGH THE BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE

These are stressful times and the baby formula shortage is among the many reasons for that. This is especially so for any mother who needs baby formula to nourish their little one. If you are reading this, you are likely one of the many mothers nationwide who are feeling terrified and worried about how they will feed their baby during this time.

As frightening as the news reports may be, there are tips and advice within reach to help you and your baby get through this difficult time. Some of them you may be already doing, which is good, but it bears repeating. There are some tips on what to do now to add to your list, and there are some things to remind you on what not to do, no matter how desperate you may get.

Let’s go over them right now:

WHAT TO KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE ALREADY DOING:

  • Never stop checking to see if any stores that sell baby formula have any in stock. Even though many parents are doing the same thing, you must not get discouraged.
  • Ask around and speak to family members, friends, and even online parent groups. Someone may know someone or a store nearby that has a good stock of formula on its shelves. Many people are trying to help each other, so there’s no need to be shy at the moment.
  • Be careful! If there’s someone in your online parent group saying they have any baby formula to give away or sell, ask many questions! Who is this person, and where did they get the formula? How did they get it? There are many untrustworthy people out there looking to take advantage of this terrible time, so make sure you don’t fall for a scam.
  • At the same time, be careful with rumors and misinformation you might come across. All of that is rampant on social media and need to fact-check and question some things you might hear, especially if it sounds too far-out or too good to be true.

WHAT YOU ALSO NEED TO DO:

  • If your baby uses a specialized formula, especially if they have allergies or special needs, speak to your doctor about what else you can give to your baby during this time. Check in with your pediatrician regularly during this time if you have any concerns.
  • If your baby is six months old, this could be a great time to start introducing your little one to solids. The good news here is by doing so, your baby will have less need to consume formula and you’ll have less of a need to buy more.
  • If you really need help, try calling your pediatrician or a hospital. There’s a good chance they’ll have some formula to give, and they are probably expecting a few mothers to reach out to them at this point.
  • Do not hoard! Buy enough formula to last you 10 days or two weeks. Understandably, you want to make sure you have enough stocked, but doing so would mean other mothers and their babies won’t be so lucky. Be considerate, and help one another.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • You probably heard this already, but it bears repeating: do not dilute the formula with water! It would mean your child won’t get the nutrition that it needs and that would lead to long-term problems in the future.
  • No cow milk either! Your baby is too young to fully digest it. The same goes for plant-based milk since they don’t have enough nutrients that a baby requires. And ix-nay on juice as well.
  • Do not try to make your own formula and stay away from any online recipes that offer that. Baby formula is loaded with all the nutrients needed and you may not be able to create all those nutrients in a homemade formula. The same goes for anyone giving online tips on how to make formula at home; they are not fully supported by the medical field. As one doctor told Parents.com: “There is not an official recipe to make baby formula like in the old days, and the ones circulating online are definitely not advised.”
  • Also, skip breast milk donors. There is little research into whether swapping milk is a good idea or not, and no one knows if it is healthy for a baby. So, you probably should not look into this. In addition, although there are milk banks that give away breast milk that is much healthier than donors - due to screening, testing, and pasteurizing - premature or medically fragile babies are given top priority.

As frightening as this problem is, there is hope on the horizon. Shipments from Europe and Australia are arriving which should help lower the shortage a great deal. The FDA says the shortage should be over by the end of July, but some say by late August.

Either way, this nightmare will be ending soon, and hopefully, it will never happen again. 

Photo by Debora Cartagena, USCDCP via Pixnio