Updated: Jun 6
With the baby formula shortage, what should I do if I can't find any?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been significant shortages of infant formulas in some stores. Current shortages have been largely caused by supply chain issues and a recall of several contaminated baby formula products. Check with your local stores or online retailers about availability.
To help ease the impact of shortages, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises buying no more than a 10-day to 2-week supply of formula.
What if baby formula is out of stock everywhere?
If you're struggling to find baby formula, here are some tips that can help.
Keep in mind, this advice is strictly for URGENT situations. If you have any concerns about your baby's nutrition, please talk with your pediatrician.
Check smaller stores and drug stores, which may not be out of supply when the bigger stores are.
If you can afford it, buy formula online until store shortages ease. Purchase from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies rather than individually sold or auction sites. Do not import formula from overseas, since imported formula is not FDA-reviewed.
For most babies, it is OK to switch to any available formula, including store brands, unless your baby is on a specific extensively hydrolyzed or amino acid based formula such as Elecare (no store brand exists). If you are unsure, talk with your pediatrician.
Check social media groups. There are groups dedicated to infant feeding and formula, and members may have ideas for where to find formula. Make sure to check any advice with your pediatrician.
If no formula can be found, consider borrowing a can from a friend.
Is it OK to put more water in baby formula?
No. While it may be tempting to water down formula to stretch it out, you should never do that! Always follow label instructions or those given to you by your pediatrician. Watering down formula is dangerous. It can cause nutritional imbalances in your baby and lead to serious health problems. Always mix formula as directed by the manufacturer.
Can you make your own baby formula?
The AAP strongly advises against homemade formula. Although recipes for homemade formulas circulating on the internet may seem healthy or less expensive, they are not safe and do not meet your baby's nutritional needs. Infant deaths have been reported from use of some homemade formulas.
Can I give my baby alternative milk products if I can't find formula?
Milk alternatives are not recommended for infants under a year of age. Be especially careful to avoid almond or other plant milks as these are often low in protein and minerals.
Can I give my baby toddler formula?
Toddler formulas are not recommended for infants. However, if you absolutely have no other choice, toddler formula is safe for a few days for babies close to a year of age.
What is the shelf life of baby formula?
Check the "use by" date on infant formula, which is required by FDA regulations to be on each container. Until that declared date, the formula will contant no less than the amount of each nutrient on the product label and will otherwise be of acceptable quality.
Always talk with your pediatrician about any concerns you have about feeding your baby.