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Tips for Parents Searching for Baby Formula

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It is terrifying that our nation now faces a nationwide shortage of baby formula. Many parents of formula-fed infants are desperately scrambling to find these products, and fearful for their child’s wellbeing.

I believe this should have never happened. In a separate post, I cover some of the reasons behind the shortage and what I’m working on in Congress to help resolve this crisis. (See link at the very bottom for that post.)

*** For this post, however, here are several things to consider if you or someone you know needs baby formula. This collection of tips is from various pediatricians and retail experts:

1. Enlist the help of your friends and family, especially those without infant-fed babies. Ask them to keep an eye out for the formula(s) you need while they’re shopping, and pay them back for what they’re able to purchase for you.

2. Don’t be afraid to order online from multiple retailers. You can always cancel orders that aren’t needed later, and typically your credit card should not be charged until the order is fulfilled.

3. When shopping online, try not to be dissuaded by “out of stock” messages or extended delivery dates. It’s possible those dates have been exaggerated just to help manage customer expectations. So consider placing your order anyway, just to be in the queue if things arrive at their warehouses early.

4. Try smaller, local retailers as well. Many people flock to the grocery stores, chain pharmacies, and large online retailers for baby formula. However, it’s possible your small, local pharmacies and convenient stores could be the hidden gem for these products.

5. Call your child’s pediatrician, especially if you’re in a crisis and/or need a medically specific formula for your child. It’s possible your pediatrician’s office might have a small supply of the formulas they recommend. Additionally, many pediatricians’ offices are keeping close contact with local grocery and pharmacy managers to know when their formula shipments are scheduled to arrive, so your pediatrician might be a good resource.

6. Call your church. Many are organizing various ways to help parents in their congregation. So please reach out to your church if you can’t find formula. And also reach out if you have extra formula to share. It’s times like these when church communities really step up.

7. Unless your child has a medical reason to stick with one particular formula, perhaps consider different brands. Consult your pediatrician, of course, but many experts are advising parents not to fixate on their brand of choice unless there’s a medical reason to do so.

8. Some nutritionists have advised that babies over six months old may be able to transition to toddler formulas, which could be easier to locate on store shelves. And that babies over nine months old might be able to transition to whole milk with some supplements. But again, PLEASE check with your pediatrician before making any changes like this.

9. Multiple experts say you should NOT dilute baby formula with water in order to make it last longer. This could be very dangerous.

10. Stock up ~a little~ as you’re able, but don’t hoard. Fear is causing some to try and buy as much as they can, which only exacerbates the shortage. Buy what you need, but please be considerate of other parents and their children.

If you have any other suggestions or tips, please add them to the comments below.

To read more about the causes of this shortage and what I’m doing in Congress on this front, please click here: