Baby Formula Shortage: What Families Need to Know

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Baby drinking from bottle We know that the recent formula shortage can make it difficult to find the formula that you are used to giving your baby. In most cases, babies can switch between brands of formula without issue. If your baby has specific health needs, it is important to speak with your pediatrician before making any changes.

We also advise against using homemade formula recipes as these do not meet the nutritional needs that growing infants have. Extra water should not be added to formula to make it last longer – babies are sensitive to shifts in electrolytes, particularly under the age of 6 months, and extra water can be dangerous.

If you are having trouble finding formula for your baby, here are a few tips:

  • Check smaller stores, such as family-owned pharmacies and grocers.
  • Swap name brand formulas for store brand formulas, such as Parents Choice, Up & UP, CVS, etc.
  • Food stamps and SNAP benefits can be used at online retail stores.
  • WIC is honoring many different brands due to the Similac recall. See this guide for families.
  • Toddler's formula or whole milk may be used in infants > 10 months with the guidance of your pediatrician.
  • Contact local food banks and churches within the community.
  • Join local parent groups on social media — many are sharing when local stores have formula stocked or sharing unopened cans.

Our team of expert registered dietitians from CHOP’s Department of Clinical Nutrition has created a formula substitution list for families and providers to consider when deciding on an appropriate alternative.

Please know you can always contact your pediatrician with specific questions or concerns about feeding your baby – we are here for you.

Read more on this topic from CHOP experts in the news:

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